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Sold Out of Love

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Album Review

For their first proper album (2002's She's Got a Gun/Paranoia was a CD reissue of two out of print vinyl EPs), the New York Rel-X resist the temptation to update their old-school punk-pop sound to follow current market trends. Sold out of Love is entirely reminiscent of '70s and '80s punk and new wave bands that were unafraid to add straightforward pop hooks to their sound: the Avengers, Pearl Harbor & the Explosions, X-Ray Spex, and Holly & the Italians all come to mind, as do the Stepmothers, the Adverts, and various other second-tier cult figures of the original punk wave. Unfortunately, that "second-tier" description applies to the New York Rel-X as well; lead singer Erika Sushi has a fantastic bratty punk-girl voice in the Pearl E. Gates tradition, a great look, and a fabulous stage name, but songwriters Johnny Kray and Adi Evron can't match their inspirations when it comes to crafting genuinely memorable songs. The classic-punk sound is great, the look is right on, but it's hard to remember most of these songs half an hour after the record is over. Even the cover of Girlschool's punk metal classic "Emergency" doesn't really come across as well as it should. Sold out of Love is still an entertaining listen, but a little more effort could lead to a true punk-pop classic.

Sold Out of Love, The New York Rel-X
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