Fricke's Picks: Norwegian Devil Dolls

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It is not patronizing to call the Cocktail Slippers — five women from Norway who make their own garage-rock racket and sing their you-done-me-wrong songs with avenging-angel-army harmonies — a girl group. It's straight shooting. The line from Lesley Gore's 1963 hit "She's a Fool" and Connie Francis' 1964 single "Don't Ever Leave Me" to the Slippers' robust covers on Saint Valentine's Day Massacre (Wicked Cool) runs right through the no-pushover sugar of the Shangri-Las and, in Slippers singer Modesty Blaze's challenging purr, Blondie's Deborah Harry. The Slippers also draw, expertly, from the boys in love with that sound — the Ronettes-with-fuzz yearning of the Ramones; Bruce Springsteen's way with Brill Building mini-opera — in the shiny charge of "Sentenced to Love" and the carousel-organ rolls in the title track (written by Springsteen guitarist and Slippers co-producer Steven Van Zandt). In full hosanna, in songs such as "In the City" and "Gotta Crush," the Slippers sound a lot like the Go-Go's but with gats instead of L.A. cheer, and a mule kick in their high heels. It's all retro action but written and detonated with the study and delight of modern rock & roll women in constant touch with their inner filly.

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