Do You Want Power
By Beverly Bryan
The Ettes’ lovely minimalist name has come to signify lovely
minimalist rock. There’s always been a touch of the blues and a lot of grit in
their rock n’ roll and on Do You Want Power it has been produced to a high sheen.
Not glassy, but there is a shine. Coco Hames’ full-throated vocals sound as hard
and bright as brushed steel and her guitar sounds crisp whether it’s rumbling
or crying. Strangely, the cleaner sound actually makes their stylish and
stripped-down sound more affecting than on their earlier albums. But this album
was produced by the incomparable Greg Cartwright of Reigning Sound and The
Oblivians, so such voodoo is no surprise.
The heartfelt but tough lyrics remain thankfully unchanged. Hames
swaggers through a series of fearless treatments of love-minus-intimacy in a
way that just feels dangerous, even when the trio slows it down for a few
rootsy ballads. Mostly though, they stick to rocking out and their haunting and
forceful melodies will please fans of Joan Jett and The White Stripes in
particular. It’s not an up-to-the-minute sound but it isn’t exactly timeless
either. There’s a quality to their music that is reminiscent of Detroit garage
rock from earlier in this decade. It will be all the more lovable to some for
being just slightly out of step with the musical zeitgeist. When you have power
like them, you can get away with it. And on Do
You Want Power they have tapped a heck of a source.