Spanking Charlene’s last album was recorded nearly a decade ago, but the band clearly hasn’t bothered to let rust settle in. On Find Me Out (Rum Bar Records), their third effort, the music is stronger and singer Charlene McPherson’s vocals are seemingly more powerful (quite a feat when you realize how impressive she sounded on the first two records).
The New York band builds on the gritty garage pop that came to define their first two albums, with the biggest difference here being the confidence the band has found over the past decade, making for a bolder more consistent sound with this go round. Coming in at a conscience 10 tracks, the record manages to vacillate between straight up rock numbers, like the infectious “I Don’t Wanna Go There,” to more slow tempo jams, like the smoldering Blues-coated S&M song “Sugar Love.” The constant muse of the songs here seems to be the city of New York itself.
But the band is at its best with amps turned up on the more raucous garage rock songs, laced with addictive singalong choruses, like the self-explanatory “Too Broke to Go Out” and “Whiplash,” a timeless song that could have just as likely come out by The Sonics in the ‘60s or an ‘80s era Joan Jett. Coincidentally, Eric Ambel who produced the record and plays guitar throughout was Jett’s original go-to guitarist. In the spirit of some of the best albums to come out in the 1970s, Find Me Out was recorded live in the studio giving it a sense of immediacy.
The album ends with its most experimental song in the set, “Liar Liar,” with its delightfully sleazy sax. Not the best song on the album, but still an undeniably solid track. https://www.spankingcharlene.com