Goddess Blues


CMC International Records, 1997


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Some people who are regular readers of this site may think I'm permanently stuck in the past - I tend to focus on older albums and established artists. Some may say I don't ever step out on a limb and try new artists.

But I do surf the Internet often for information on new bands - which is where I first heard about Sexpod. Their bio intrigued me - if these women were as powerful on disc as the bio suggested, I was in for an evening of slamming my head against the drywall of the apartment. A couple of "oh, please, oh, please" e-mail messages to the label, and I soon had my new toy - Goddess Blues, their debut release.

For sure, Karyn Kuhl and crew are talented musicians - in case the stereotype still exists about "girl groups," put it to the side and smash it with a sledgehammer. And while the performances are good, Sexpod falls into the same trap almost every new band falls into early into their careers - the songwriting needs a coat of paint or two.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The trio is led by Kuhl, whose vocals seem to be a cross between Ann Wilson and Chryssie Hynde. Bassist Alice Genese is fluid at her instrument, but I almost wish she got a little funkier on it - her playing seems a bit restrained. And drummer Tia Sprocket turns in a solid performance behind the trap kit. So far, so good.

The title track opens with some teaser starts, but when the song finally kicks in, the track quickly gains a funky groove. Though the false stops near the end of the song are a bit distracting, the song has some very solid moments.

The album continues on a positive note with the next two songs, "Impenetrable" and "Foot On The Gas." The trio settles back with some well-written songs and intriguing lyrics which hook the listener upon the first listen.

"Go" is a slight step backward, though not due to Sexpod's performance. It's a little disappointing that Kuhl didn't develop the song's lyrics a bit further - I tended to get tired of hearing the phrase "you gotta go" pretty quickly. The performances revive my interest in the song; Kuhl's combination of rhythm and lead playing during the chorus is reminiscent of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Maybe this is one thing that let me down with Sexpod, something which is not their fault. A power trio tends to restrict a band's performance a bit, because you don't have a second guitar to fill in the rhythm. So often I wanted to hear Kuhl break forth with a hot solo - the closest they get to this is the closing track "Waterfall," where Kuhl is allowed to freeform on the guitar as the band quiets down behind her.

Maybe I'm sounding too cynical; there are some excellent cuts on Goddess Blues. Besides the previously mentioned tracks, "Delicate Balance," "Emily" and "Black In Bloom" stand out in the crowd. These are the songs that show the band is able to live up to the hype of their bio. Others, like "Drunk In A Dress" and "Dirty Girl," fall short of the mark.

Don't get me wrong, Sexpod is one of the better female bands I've heard - I personally think they blow bands like L7 away. And given some time and road experience (as well as some more time together), Sexpod will have a very exciting career ahead of them. Goddess Blues is a valiant first effort, but is cries out often for what could have been. Still, this is an album that leaves no doubt Sexpod will be a force to deal with in the future.

Rating: B-

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© 1997 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 CMC International Records, and is used for informational purposes only.