Middle of Devon

Muncie Girls are from Exeter, not Indiana. And while I'm hardly a world traveler, I've been to Exeter. I'd like to say that it's an enchanting small city in the southwest of England, but it struck me as pretty ordinary. Further research into this has confirmed my assessment. Exeter is perfectly lovely, but unremarkable (except for the spectacular cathedral and Roman walls, I suppose). The perfect proving ground for a punk band scuffling into brilliance.

Muncie Girls
From Caplan to Belsize
(Animal Style)
My cursory examination of previous Muncie Girls output found competence. On this album, the trio has found additional inspiration and verve. The songs pop, and the album itself blows by breathlessly. And I was truly surprised to discover the English roots of this band. In something of a 180 from all the American punk bands trying to sound British, Muncie Girls have affected a solid Letters to Cleo-meets-Superchunk vibe.

This is pop-punk, not two-fingers-straight-up punk. As I noted above, Muncie Girls first established competence, not passion. These songs are angling for airplay and sales. So let's not make any cries of idealism.

There's no need. These songs are perfect ambassadors for themselves. Plenty of crunch, a nice bite and muscular melodies are more than enough to entrance. I guess the Americans are finally re-exporting punk back across the Atlantic. The early returns are promising.

Jon Worley

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