Anti-Hero Unpretty

They dress like chain-smoking goth-punk jailbait and play like Kittie bludgeoning Alanis’s angry-girl masterwork Jagged Little Pill with a sledgehammer, but the dual front-women of London scuzz-metallers Anti-Hero sound less like mascara-smeared femme fatales and more like twin Kelly Clarksons fronting a Slayer cover band. Unpretty boasts enough canned guitar gnarl, maudlin "everybody sucks” pouting, scorched-larynx metal barks and astoundingly insipid lyrics to give Evanescence’s Amy Lee pause. The decision to place the vocals high in the mix flattens the sound and halves the menace, effectively castrating the rhythm section. But against these built-in setbacks, producer Rob Sanzo somehow manages to cobble a somewhat listenable hard rock record from Anti-Hero’s dog pile of weak songs, plodding riffs and half-baked lyrics. Although there’s nothing remotely gritty about Rose Perry’s tuff-girl posturing on "More or Less” and "Better than U,” but Matty Cole’s thumping drums give her something substantially thuggish to holler over. Sadly, she’s got precious little to work with everywhere else. "I try my hardest, but nothing’s ever good enough for you,” she growls on "Not Good Enough.” Hey, admitting you have a problem is always the hardest step. (HER)