Violent Femmes Freak Magnet

The Femmes have sustained an 18-year career in rock music by being a highly entertaining live act, carving out a totally distinctive sound as a three-piece, and by creating their timeless masterpieces "Blister In The Sun" and "Add It Up." Freak Magnet is largely a more electrified punk album than the sardonic acoustic work they are remembered for. Though not a bad thing, they tend to sound like an average band dabbling in a goofy brand of punk, save for Gordon Gano's voice, which anyone could spot a mile away. The title song, "Freak Magnet," is an irritating; highly repetitive song that seems custom made for a beer commercial. What is sad about the overall album is that they, for the most part, lost the knack to inflame the subversive needs deep down. With the exception of a few songs like the punk anthem "Mosh Pit" and the very Gano-esque "Sleepwalkin'" and "I Danced," the Femmes are just another lightweight band in an infinite sea of mediocre music. (Beyond)