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Hollywood Brats

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Album Review

The Hollywood Brats announce their presence on their self-titled album, re-released in 1999, with a plinky piano that drips with campy fun — especially the last wrong note hit before a wave of guitars washes away the tinny sound with a full rock & roll barrage. And these wink-wink touches are layered onto the album thicker than the blusher caked onto the boys who played on it. "Courtesan," has a slinky go-go dance beat, over which a nasally croon warns of, "the girl with the dollar sign eyes." They deliver an amped up version of "Then He Kissed Me," complete with a gender-bending interpretation, and the hint of an exhibitionist's thrill at doing something naughty. These boys could give the New York Dolls a run for their money, and both would be evenly matched in their towering platform shoes and flying feather boas, although their songs lack some of the raunchy punk and dirt under your press-on fingernails sound of their New York boyfriends. They were forming across the pond at the same time in the early '70s, though, when a disgust with the bloated redundancy of popular rock and the cotton candy emptiness of disco caused all the fabulous freaks of punk rock to let out a squeal. The songs were recorded in 1973 but were not released in Britain until 1980, when Cherry Red Records did the honors. And the Hollywood Brats definitely bring to mind the hair bands that followed them, especially the way that Hanoi Rocks flirted with both street credibility and over the top drama, and an echo of their sound can be found in Motley Crue's cow bell. Of course, it's not just light songs about skipping school and cross-dressing — they do let their inner punks out to play. "Sick on You" is the ultimate break up song, flaying a now tiresome six week romance with "if I'm gonna puke, Babe, I'm gonna puke on you." While this album does inspire a few giggles, for anyone who likes the tradition of electrifying bluesy R&B-based rock, and delivering it with both a sneer and a dusting of glitter, this album is a worthwhile score.


Formed: 1971

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s

Like a less famous British cousin of the New York Dolls, the Hollywood Brats also had a taste for feather boas, glitter, and tough rock & roll played with rough-and-tumble abandon. Although they only recorded one full-length album that was not released until after they had broken up, the band is recognized as a pioneer of punk. The first incarnation of the Hollywood Brats surfaced in London in 1971 when singer Andrew Matheson, Norwegian keyboard player Casino Steel, and drummer Lou Sparks began...
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Hollywood Brats, Hollywood Brats
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