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Vue Down For Whatever

By Mick Stingley, Contributor
Tuesday, September 23, 2003 @ 12:48 AM


(RCA)

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Comparisons to label-mates The Strokes are only harmful and inaccurate: while you can debate that they sport a similar look, this band from San Francisco is steeped in early Stones and vintage glam from Iggy Pop down the line to the Sunset Strip. A five-piece, two-guitar band with a chick drummer, VUE stand out for simply being awesome and knowing how to rock it, swing it, and get the lead out like Jagger singing for Tracii Guns.

“She’s Sweet” opens the disc with the honky-tonk piano and a drum charge that gives way to Rex John Shelverton’s arrogant snearing whine, declaring, “She’s sweeeeet -- and that’s fah shu-ahh…” over some dirty sexy guitar. This band could eat The Strokes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

“Down For Whatever” is firmly trenched in punk ‘n roll by way of The Dead Boys and glam like the Dogs D’Amour (“Some Kids”), and the band glides confidently and blithely along tricked out with jangly driving guitars that recall Gilby Clarke (“Look Out For Traffic”), The New York Dolls (“Do You Ever?”) to Between The Buttons-era Stones (“Babies Are For Petting”).

The disc boasts mostly rockers, but the band fares well on the two slower numbers within: “Prettyshapes” sways in its bleakness and swamp-harmonica cry and longing vocals. “Take Two Kisses” feels like the soundtrack to a break-up on a warm night in L.A., awash in slow, moody guitar tremolo and a desperate scratchy yelling that might be a paean or a kiss-off.

While press machines hype the next hip “IT” band of today or tomorrow, VUE stand out as being too rock-cool for trendy poseurs at the latest martini-bar. This is a beer and cigarettes band, and so good, you can almost feel the perspiration on your long-neck Bud…

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