gullbuy music review

The 5,6,7,8's


Teenage Mojo Workout


Timebomb Records


Teenage Mojo Workout by The 5,6,7,8'sNot the most prolific of bands, the's (a Japanese all-girl trio) have only released a dozen or so singles, a couple of EPs and two full-length albums since the band started out in 1986.

Their third album, 'Teenage Mojo Workout,' released in April 2002 continues in the same vein as their earlier recordings: ragged rock firmly rooted in the '50s and '60s. Leader Ronnie's voice has gotten rougher if anything, at times sounding a lot like the singer from Thee Michelle Gun Elephant.

As always, '...Workout' is heavy on cover versions of American rock and soul songs. There's an tear-it-up stomp version of the Ikettes' (as in Ike Turner) I'm Blue, I Got a Man (originally by the Toys), bears resemblance to Hit the Road, Jack, there's a fuzz-drenched (think Davie Allan), r'n'b-infused version of Hanky Panky (Raindrops/Tommy James), a Farfisa-ized version of Bob and Earl's Harlem Shuffle and a unnecessary cover of Booker T's Green Onions (the distorted organ does sound pretty hot, though).

On the original side of things, Typhoon Girl is an instro with silly laughing girl vocals (I think maybe they used the same gong from their old number Ah, So). The title track, Teenage Mojo Workout is a killer mod stomper with snatches of the Batman Theme woven through it; they also swipe that part from the Shangri-las' Give Him a Great Big Kiss that goes "How does he dance?" "Close; very, very close." (Hey, there's a fine history of appropriating that bit, starting with the New York Dolls!). New Orleans Rock is a superfluous re-write of Sea Cruise crossed with something by Huey "Piano" Smith.

A couple of songs not written by the band that may or may not be covers include a wild rave-up called Let's Go Boogaloo, a really nice ballad called In the Subway (sounds a little like a latter-day Marianne Faithful singing an previously unreleased Carole King/Gerry Goffin-penned mini-epic) and an instrumental (again, think Davie Allan) called Road Runner (no, neither Jr. Walker nor Modern Lovers) -- great " meep-meep!" vocal part!

All in all, a really super, high-energy party album.

---Peter L, Febraury 18, 2003