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The Observer

Mecca Normal

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Album Review

Mecca Normal frontwoman Jean Smith cooks up an ingenious idea for a concept album with The Observer, which tackles the pros and woes of online dating with results that wind up mixed. Launched with "I'm Not into Being the Woman You're with While You're Looking for the Woman You Want," the actual song is less involved than its lengthy title suggests, as Mecca guitarist David Lester pumps out a memorable riff amid an otherwise sparse, crisp presentation. Tracks like the poppish "Attraction Is Ephemeral" and the muscular rocker "I'll Call You" are equally alluring, but the duo falls off balance with the painfully long "Fallen Skier." At 12 minutes, this rant about bad Wi-Fi-secured dates is just aimless and barely tuneful, while "The Caribou & the Oil Pipeline" finds Smith caterwauling the line "Didn't think I could write a hit but I had to try," with her tongue planted firmly in cheek. ~ John D. Luerssen, Rovi

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Biography

Formed: 1981 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Cana

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

A seminal influence on Northwestern indie rock (and especially on the riot grrl movement), Vancouver's Mecca Normal was the bridge between female post-punk primitives like the Raincoats and the Slits — not to mention Patti Smith's punk poetry — and the more explicitly political, feminist noisemakers of the '90s. Lo-fi, amateurish, and decidedly minimalist, Mecca Normal was essentially a duo, with occasional studio help; vocalist Jean Smith (also a poet, novelist, and painter) declaimed...
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The Observer, Mecca Normal
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