Semi Precious Weapons- You Love You
By Karen Muller
Semi Precious Weapons, a self-dubbed “garage glam” band, is headed out of its old stomping grounds of New York City and into the mouth of the fame monster—thanks in part to having been hand-selected as the opening act for Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball, by none other than the queen of pseudo-pop herself.
Frequently and fearlessly sporting sky-high heels, fishnet leggings and garish makeup, this band is out to prove that they aren’t your momma’s glam-rockers. Nor are they throwbacks to the messy, guy-liner boys of the emo/pop-punk scene—and they certainly aren’t appropriate for the ears of Teenybopper Nation.
“You Love You,” the Weapons’ first major-label release, ricochets from thrashing rock-n-roll to utterly filthy power ballad and back again. The band’s self-titled song energetically launches the album with what has become a rallying cry among fans: “I can’t pay my rent, but I’m fucking gorgeous.” The phrase is more mission statement than mere lyric, and sets the tone for an entire album packed with squealing guitar solos, crashing cymbals and song after song of self-glorification. The album’s other single, the anthem-like “Magnetic Baby,” is possibly the disc’s best offering, and shows off the band’s dynamic potential. While its choices in topic matter are neither original nor deep, the band manages revel in its gimmicky raw sexuality. The Weapons are at their best in upbeat tales of rock-n-roll excess, such as “Rock n Roll Never Looked So Beautiful,” and “Sticky With Champagne.” However, these songs aside, the band quickly empties its bag of tricks, leaving similarly hard-rocking tracks such as “I Could Die” and “Put A Diamond In It”, tasteless and forgettable.
The Weapons also make a few attempts at softer, more ballad-like songs, but for the most part, these tracks only detract from the album. The low-key “Statues of Ourselves” threatens to cross into soft rock territory, which is a place where this band should never dare to go—Semi Precious Weapons attempting soft rock is the musical equivalent of staggering drunk into a five-star restaurant. The band’s most recent single, and quite possibly the worst track, “Look At Me,” attempts to show a more sensitive side of the band, but clashes horribly with the glitter-and-filth lifestyle extolled by the rest of the album.
Tranter’s voice tends to take on an effeminate sound in all the wrong places, and without the edge of crashing drums, the lyrics, while trying to sound gentle, are often cringe-inducing.
As a whole, the sound is one that is nearly impossible to feel ambivalent about; lyrics are often offensive, occasionally brilliant and consistently over the top. Still, Tranter has the vocal chords, the band has the chops, and together they’ve been able to write some great hooks. With a few great singles, Semi Precious Weapons do have the potential to grab a Gaga-esque taste of fame. The question here is whether or not the band’s limited focus will provide them with enough material to make a unique and interesting second album, or if they’ve already exhausted the concept.