Boy, the WAITRESSES sure are cute when they're mad! Of course, it's mostly ersatz anger whipped up out of a killing boredom. And the only song on "Bruiseology" even credited to the group is the title track. The rest, as usual, are Chris Butler's doing -- more march tunes for the sex wars with a distinctly feminine perspective. For that, one doesn't know whether to give him points for feminist chic or box his ears for being so annoyingly cynical about it. That's "Bruiseology," I guess.
Still, Butler has a punkishly academic way with tunes, and most of these are endearing in a hook-laden, sassy vein. On "Thinking About Sex Again," he has Patty Donahue make the observation that "boyfriends can't be six-packs," and on "Everything's Wrong if My Hair is Wrong," she declares, "This isn't just dressing up girl / This is warfare." (Take that, Stevie Nicks!) The rest of the time, Butler has her busy trying to acting out his Kerouac delusions.
One song, though, boasts some authentic bile. It's called "They're All Out of Liquor, Let's Find Another Party," and it's a kind of "Desiderata" for the '80s, offering such advice as "Do mind bottled dressing" and "Make a country that's fat and smart." That's the real thing. I think.
But if you really want mad, try the VIOLENT FEMMES. Whew! Are they ever steamed to the rafters! The name comes from either the fact that somebody usually gets offed by the time the chorus rolls around, or the label didn't think Wimps in a Snit was a catchy enough name for a punk trio.
These boys grouse about everything on their self-titled debut album. They're mad at their moms, their girlfriends, other guys who look at their girlfriends. Inexplicably, their girlfriends are always leaving them, which causes them to be lonely and feel like purchasing a gun. Songs include "Kiss Off" and "Please Do Not Go," a kind of "Satisfaction" for underachievers. The lyrics are unprintable, but revolve mostly around a sexual obsession.
The amazing thing about this album, though, is not the lyrics but the fact that the uh, musical accompaniment to all this wrath is completely bottomless. You can crank this baby up to 22 dB's and the kitty won't even stir on the sofa. After about four minutes of this irritatingly puny sound, you feel like slapping the person next to you with the record sleeve, which may be the desired effect. Great cover art, too. THE WAITRESSES -- "Bruiseology" (Polydor 810 980- 1 Y-1). Appearing Friday at 8 at the 9:30 Club. VIOLENT FEMMES -- "Violent Femmes" (Slash 9 23845). Appearing Saturday at 8 at the 9:30 Club.