PRINT January 1997


the Red Aunts

Saltbox, the fourth album from RED AUNTS, is speedy, girl-flavored, West Coast punk. It’s also the band’s second album in a row to rush fourteen songs into twenty-three minutes. Their flirty threats of violence, pill-popping, bar-hopping, and boy-toying delivered with a snarl or a scream sound a lot like X, who also wrote songs about LA nightlife and love—but with X, nightlife was about socioeconomics, and love was more political than personal. There’s no between-the-lines with this record, though, and the band’s at its best when showing off its tight, well-crafted form in songs comprised entirely of a chorus, as in the super-repetitious anthem “I Can’t Do Anything Right” (the song’s only lyric). Red Aunt’s “no agenda/just rock” policy—an attempt to avoid the inevitable (sexist) pigeonholing that an all-girl band is subjected to—may leave much to be desired for those who crave content, but the band’s breezy nihilism takes care of a girl-core itch that needs to be scratched.