What makes a band like the Ettes so fascinating is that while they’re lumped in with the regular garage rock/punk that decide to stick to basics and pay homage to the sound (rather than the artists) who came before them, they still manage to have a subtle touch that makes them so unique — in this case, their Patsy Cline-style country leanings mixed with the power and fury of the Stooges. Being fronted (and numbered) predominantly by women, it would be easy to compare them to any number of garage-leaning girl groups of the day, from the Vivian Girls to Wild Flag, or to any of the retro-indie groups like Cults (they’re not, and I get the feeling that Cults will disappear from the public consciousness within months, the good lord willing). But the Ettes deserve so much more than ranking among their peers of girl-fronted groups, let alone other garage-minded indie bands: they do it right! They get it! And it’s all because the Ettes have plenty of pop smarts, but they sound like a class bully, waiting to throw a punch at any time they get the chance.
The Ettes’ latest, Wicked Will, is a bit of a retreat from their previous album, Do You Want Power, which was produced by the Reigning Sound’s Greg Cartwright and featured a bit more diversity in terms of style. Wicked Will, produced with Liam Watson (who did their first two albums), returns to the raw and raucous power combined with their pop smarts that made those first two albums such engaging listens. But fret not: just because they dropped the stylistic challenges of Power doesn’t mean that they didn’t take a little bit of that record with them to make Wicked Will all the better.
Why the Ettes are better at self-reflection than anyone else, after the jump.