It has been a very, very long time since a new record forced my mind to expand so quickly that it made my eyes blur, but that’s exactly what Tinkerbelles‘ debut 7-inch – the Fine Asses EP – did to me. The first time I put it on and stylus touched vinyl, the record just walked up and belted me in the face. It was awesome; Fine Asses whirls around with wreckless abandon and seeks only to throw everything and everyone it comes into contact with off-balance. It wants to shock them, startle them, worry them and assault them which it will do – but Fine Asses is also a great ride for those brave enough to hold on tight too.
After warming up with a reading of some dialogue from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (those who know the movie with recognize “Rebel Dottie,” and it’s mixed with some manic laughter which sounds like it came from “Wipeout”), Tinkerbelles make a grand entrance with the crashing rush of “When Puppies Cry” and immediately set the frenetic, “blast first” mentality that the EP sustains for the duration of its run-time. Over an extended whine of feedback, singer/bassist Adam Mohundro lays down a bass line so taught that it’s fraying in places and couples it with a snotty, punky vocal, while drummer Christian Dawson drives it home with a simple, four-on-the-floor beat which is rugged and propulsive.
The results are remarkable; while plenty of two-man bands have come along hitting hard and playing loud (Death From Above 1979 would be the closest comparable to Tinkerbelles, but Gossip and White Stripes could be mentioned in the same breath), NONE of them have arrived sporting a tight, rock-punk sound like this. The Tinkerbelles’ aggressive spark powers a great, sardonic sense of humor, and the results are fun.
The lean and mean streak which runs through “When Puppies Cry” keeps right on running through the poppier, closer-to-singalong “Rotten Tanx” before collapsing into the perfectly disposable soccer thuggery of “YuMa Nacho” to close the side. While brief, it’s surprisingly satisfying; top to bottom through the A-Side of Fine Asses, listeners get a great primer for what the band is all about, and they’ll want more.
What listeners discover when they hit the flip-side of the EP is that the B- is where all the meat is. Right off the top on the B-side of the record, listeners will get hit between the eyes with the thick, adrenaline-loaded and brilliantly acerbic “Baby Don’t Go Viral” and discover how much the band was holding back on the A-side.
Here, the band is really firing on all cylinders; there are some great, punky hooks (think Voidoids, Wire or No Age) sunk deep into the performance of the song, and the really short lyric sheet makes singing along easy (it’s pretty much just, “Baby don’t go viral” for two minutes flat) and memorable. As well, the bad attitude from the A-side endures, but it’s more streamlined and mobile now; the song is more active than just beating a riff into oblivion as was the governing rule on the EP’s A-side, and pushes in a less arty and more danceable direction than before.
The dance-punk strains from “Baby Don’t Go Viral” spill over into the more ominous “40 Walls,” which sweetens the deal by adding more articulated loud-to-quiet dynamics and a longer lyric sheet which give the song more movement. The build of “40 Walls” is great and will have pulses racing as the song gives way to “I Gotta Go,” the molten and explosive finale of the EP. In its last gasp, all of the best elements which appeared in the other six songs on the EP converge and make an unforgiving dance-punk tour-de-force; the beat and rhythm surge like raw adrenaline and then recede before exploding again to match the EP’s first punch in the face before trailing off with the band members absently humming the melody to “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” In that, listeners will find one last laugh and want more at roughly the same rate they also realize they’re also hooked.
After it ends, listeners will find themselves glowing from the exertion and experience of Fine Asses – but they’ll also be astonished when they discover that the whole thing only took about eleven minutes to play out – the amount of energy expended makes it feel like it was longer. When they realize that, the fatigue of the first listen will completely evaporate; they’ll want more, and that’s the best hook. Those who hear this EP will love it, but the band had better be ready to answer demands for a full-length follow-up – because they’re on their way.
The Fine Asses EP is out now. Buy it here directly from the band: www.tinkerbelles.bandcamp.com.