Universal Honey Vicious Circles

Is it possible for singer/guitarist Leslie Stanwyck to sound more unimpressed? More so than Debbie Harry ever could, Stanwyck manages not so much to sigh through her lyrics as be completely detached from them. Even when Stanwyck sings about heartache (as on "Second Time Around”), it sounds as though it’s not herself in the scenario; that she’s talking about some other couple she knows. Is this a bad thing? Not really. Honestly, Vicious Circles is a great retro rock listen. Stanwyck tosses every rock clichéd run and progression she can think of from the ’70s and ’80s, from vaguely Stones-ish blues rock to muted progressions that would make James Honeyman-Scott proud. When combined with her vocal anti-delivery, Stanwyck sounds not unlike what Pat Benatar or Chrissie Hynde might if they were popping Prozac. The fact that there are so many derivative things on this record, yet I made it all the way through, likens it to a car crash; it’s horrible and ugly and disgusting, yet I couldn’t turn away. Vicious Circles is proof positive that several wrongs can make a right. (41)