Get Skintight

The Donnas

Lookout! Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


My, my, my, how our little girls are growing up.

The Donnas, an all-female punk-rock quartet, have improved upon both their playing and their songwriting for their third full-length release, Get Skintight. The band sounds tighter than they did on American Teenage Rock 'N Roll Machine, their previous effort, and they now sound like a band that is one step away from the mainstream.

Donna R.'s lead guitar licks now sound much more confident, making solo time a true pleasure to listen to. Lead vocalist Donna A. also has a new air of confidence to her, so when she delivers a line like, "Baby you're so sweet I got a toothache" (from "Skintight"), it sounds natural rather than comical as it might have before. Donna C.'s drum work, as before, is solid. One minus - I still would like to hear the bass playing of Donna F. brought higher up into the mix.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

As for the music on Get Skintight, if you ever thought of writing these young ladies off as a novelty act, this album will change your mind forever. Sure, the tracks have a lot to do with the activities of a young person's life ("You Don't Wanna Call," "Party Action," "Get Outta My Room"), but frankly, it's more believable coming from young adults that it would, say, from Motley Crue. Speaking of the Crue, The Donnas pay homage to the band with their cover of "Too Fast For Love" - and they nail it better than Vince Neil himself.

What also helps The Donnas on Get Skintight is the production of Redd Kross members Jeff and Steve McDonald, who capture the band's sound perfectly. Coming from their own alternative music background, they seem like the perfect candidates to bring the sound of The Donnas into its own - which they do with flying colors.

The only negative with Get Skintight is that the formula of teen angst and carefree life starts to wear a little thin at the end on songs like "Zero" and "Well Done". Normally, I'd be mentioning that the album could have been longer, clocking in at 38 minutes; but in the case of Get Skintight, the band seems to know they're running low on gas.

What makes Get Skintight a special listen is that you can almost expect to hear some of these songs on the radio, meaning that The Donnas, if given the right breaks, could become the next Green Day. (It's a suitable comparison, seeing that Green Day once was on the same label.) Chances are the two obstacles the band will face are skepticism (no matter what I say, there will still be people who will think of The Donnas as a novelty act, and that's too bad) and changing musical tastes - namely, if some program directors think that the California punk revolution is over. (With the success of recent works by bands like The Offspring, I don't think that will be a problem.)

Get Skintight is a marked improvement for The Donnas, proof that another year of experience has helped mold their musical vision into something special. Already garnering some significant press, this could well be the year that the band makes their big break. If not, they're right at the edge of stardom.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Lookout! Records, and is used for informational purposes only.