Band – Girls – Money
What a difference a few years makes. Tsar first surfaced in 2000, with their Hollywood Records self-titled debut; a masterpiece of hook-filled glammy power pop. Fast forward five years and the band — complete with charismatic frontman Jeff Whalen — return with Band — Girls — Money, and a new sound.
Out is the slick and polished pop of “Kathy Fong Is The Bomb” from the debut, and in are a slew of garage punk-inspired, dirty riffs and razor sharp guitars. With its ballsy approach, the raucous title track is a statement of what’s to come, and the frantic “Wanna Get Dead” is a marked departure from anything the band recorded on Tsar. Only “You Can’t Always Want What You Get” and “Startime,” with their glam overtones, hint at Tsar’s previous incarnation.
Even if the new direction on Band — Girls — Money is slightly derivative of what’s currently in vogue, Tsar’s music is engaging enough and there’s no denying that Whalen is a frontman blessed with real presence and star quality.