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The Stuck Ups


Human Doll Express


Sympathy For The Record Industry


The Stuck UpsThe Stuck Ups' second full-length album, Human Doll Express, displays a wide range of musical influences. Tiffany's driving guitars and Justin's steady drums seem straight out of the early years of British Punk. The spacey synthesizer rhythms (provided by Bre) harken back to vintage Blondie. Tiffany's singing often sounds like Sleater-Kinney, while Meredeath, Justin, and Bre's background vocals recall '60s pop harmonies.

The album opens strong with 'Anywhere But Here,' a song with the oft-heard theme of youth, disillusionment, and confusion. The angry rebellion continues on through the album, but by about the time 'U Lose' merges seamlessly into 'Goin' Under,' one begins to wonder if this energy is going to develop into anything more substantial. The lyrics remain simple and, for the most part, uninspired; most of the rhymes are simple, and the sequence gets to be a bit predictable. 'Goin' Under' and 'Straight n' Narrow' are the only songs with a hint of any political commentary, and the emotions expressed in 'Piss Off,' 'Get Pushy,' and 'Steppin' Stone' hardly pass as mature.

Perhaps part of the reason why the songs all begin to sound alike is that none exceeds three minutes, Tiffany's vocal range is not very large, and the first time we hear male vocals is on the last track, 'Steppin' Stone' (yup, The Monkees song). But, then again, maybe Seattle's The Stuck Ups aren't trying to be mature or deep or make a political statement. Despite these criticisms, this is one fun little album.

---Hannah Nolan-Spohn, November 5, 2002