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  • SF Weekly Review of Strictly Platinum

    Look at what the Beatie Boys have wrought: What do you get when you cross a bunch of white kids who grew up on punk and moved on to hip hop with a four-track, a voice box, malt liquor, and a New York ZIP code? If you said Luscious Jackson, Jon Spencer, and Butter, you'd be correctamundo, if not not exactly an interpretative genius. Princess Superstar, the latest white-punks-gone-dope, wear their East Village origins like a big, shiny sheriff's badge they found at a thrift shop near Tompkins Square.

    On the quixotically titled Strictly Platinum, the co-ed's quartet's debut, they trumpet their would-be downness with a mix of braggadocio, barely self-effacing irony, and a sharp sense of humor. Like the Beasties' bastard children, Princess Superstar makes knowing nods to singsong hip hop, specifically the old-skool NYC kind, and couples them with pop-punk riffs. The album's first track, "Theme Song", is just that: punchy waves of basslines, spacey effects, grooved guitar, and only one lyric - "Princess Supersta," of course. On the honky manifesto "I'm White," lead vocalist Concetta Kirschner (who sounds eerily like Luscious Jackson's Jill Cunniff at times) intones, "I'm white and I'm from Pennsylvania / I don't have a gun and I don't have a pager / Where I'm from there isn't a scene / I got my information reading Highlights magazine." Thankfully, the laughs are reserved for the lyrics.

    Strictly Platinum's production, which is co-credited by Kirschner, is simple and sparse but always smart: a sample here, a little effect there, and a constant awareness of when to change the pace. And while these Superstars sound ragged throughout, they've got that garage-band energy that's hard to pull off on record. Princess Superstar is nowhere near as sophisticated as most of its musical influences, but rarely does self-parody so skillfully straddle that thin line between clever and stupid.

    — Zev Berow

     
    Article reprinted without permission.