Published Jul 25, 2014On their first album in a decade, the eternally young Muffs have wisely chosen to stick to what they know. Whoop Dee Doo may be a repeat, but that means it's an emotive, feel-good, fan-pleasing release. The band's appreciation of artists like the Ramones, Beatles and Pixies translates to a safe sound akin to the Rentals or New Pornographers.
"Cheezy" sounds like the La's "There She Goes Again," complete with a harmonica intro, while "Take a Take a Me" is a punk-rock sock-hop with faint organ, do-dee-dos and the occasional howl. These tracks evoke high school dance scenes in cool, '90s teen movies — fitting, since the Muffs appeared on the Clueless soundtrack.
There isn't much variety on this album, but the tight, catchy, melodic rock is strongest in the rockabilly "Where Did I Go Wrong?" and Veruca Salt-esque "Lay Down, It's So Much Better" and "Like you Don't See Me." Whether whining or crooning, Kim Shattuck's vocals are tailor-made for the pop punk aesthetic (especially when she sounds like she's smoked too many cigarettes), though they may be too sweet at times for some ("Forget the Day").
If the Muffs were a drink they'd be cream soda, and while I'd typically prefer it spiked, that would be contrary to the point; the band's aim is to deliver a simple, somewhat fizzy sound marked by prominent vocal melodies and choppy yet clean chords. Here, they do that, even if their age means Whoop Dee Doo has less of a punk edge than their revered '90s releases had. (Burger Records)