Recent CMJ spotlight artists, Vanity Theft, have released their latest alternative/pop rock tracks in The Anatomy EP (Vigilante Music/Adamant Records), a 6-song disc that includes two remixes by Lefse Records’ artist Houses.
The four original tracks on The Anatomy EP, are a mash-up of pop, dance, and post-riot-grrl punk. There’s the title track, whose tongue-in-cheek lyrics almost laugh, “And besides maybe I don’t want you for your mind / Can’t decide, ” and synthesizers that playfully nod to the current 80’s obsession. With punchy beats, wailing harmonies, and just the right amount of growling, “Limb from Limb” is sexy, warningly intimidating, and impossible not to air drum to.
The restrained, thoughtful harmonies and dense, overlapping melodies in “Excavation” echo the lyrical imagery of the digging search for identity. And despite running slightly long, “Missing Teeth,” a haunting ballad that proves Vanity Theft has a variety of styles up their sleeve, has a melancholy, sinking-beneath the water sound that holds up the beautiful metaphor in the chorus, “And all the ships that sail out to sea / Leave the dock that runs across the shoreline / A mouth with missing teeth.”
Electro-ambient artist Houses’ remix dissects and robotically reassembles “Anatomy,” removing lyrical meaning and manipulating percussion with Gaga-esque vocal breaks. The “Missing Teeth” remix, is simply a far-away sounding, ghostly ethereal version of the original. Sadly, the remixes are very stylistically different from Vanity Theft’s recordings, and certainly do not best the originals, making their inclusion unsatisfying.
Because The Anatomy EP is true to Vanity Theft’s edgy, powerful live sound, and the lyrics are coy yet undeniably intelligent, it’s almost the perfect party soundtrack. You want to drink and dance to this album, either in a miniskirt and leather boots, or with a girl in a miniskirt and leather boots (or at least I do).
Cut your teeth on the EP and get ready for the full-length album, Get What You Came For, hitting stores on March 1 and iTunes on Feb 1. And check out their national tour with Hunter Valentine beginning February 2, 2011.
Written by Emily Hall Smith of GO Magazine.