Drawing -- sometimes subtly, sometimes openly -- on any number of past rock songs and tropes to rework them with a more pointed message, the three musicians who make up Delta Dart
come up trumps with the excellent Fight or Flight
. Like Sleater-Kinney
, there's something about the music the trio creates that recalls early Go-Go's
with more of a spiky kick -- tuneful, beautiful at many points, energetic, and demanding attention. The constant overlay and intertwining of vocals on most of the songs add a subtle intensity many times -- the effect is almost of breathless outrage even when in fact all the singers are perfectly in control. It just sounds like Amber Bayer and Sissy Chrome are on the verge of sudden explosions, as "Traffic Heart Implosion" and "It's Time to Go," among others, show. Erin McCarley handles just about all the music outside of some piano, and as a one-person band she does a fantastic job; it really sounds like a full group kicking along together rather than a collection of overdubs. Guest turns here and there don't hurt -- in particular, Katrina Monta's violin on "Do You Have Any?" adds a sudden melancholic, sharp kick to the piano/acoustic guitar combination. Even when it's down to just an acoustic guitar, as on "Let's Go to Bed" (nothing to do with the Cure
song) or "Story of My Life," the three never let their emotional or musical guard down. The lyrical kiss-offs are legion, from the opening bile of "PunkRock-icity" to the emotional explosion of the Beatles
-referencing "Love Song" -- credit as well to the weird, twisted collage of "Inauguration Day," with snippets of political speakers, radio static, and more (including Bananarama
!) turned into an unsettling portrait of the Bush Jr. years.