With its self-titled album, Stretch Princess proves female singers don’t have to be divas or a second-stage act at the Lillith Fair.
Stretch Princess (Wind-Up) opens with a bang with the song “Oooh!” A furious guitar and manic beat provide a great clash to lead singer Jo Lloyd’s smooth, child-like vocals. “Oooh!” has the potential to be a smash single. The rest of the songs on the album are a mix of power-pop gems and darker songs that are still catchy.
Often, the band’s sound resembles a mesh of the Go-Go’s playfulness and Hole’s harshness. “Shoes” starts off with a slower, more somber tone, which at first resembles most of the music by female singers today. But during the chorus, the band opens up and provides a powerful background for Lloyd’s melancholy vocals.
Other songs on the album such as “Lost On Me” and “Sugar” showcase the band’s talent for creating great songs. “J.W.B.A” starts with a bass line that could have been lifted from a Sonic Youth album and then delves into a psychedelic swirl. Overall, the album’s and the band’s strongest point is Lloyd’s vocal.
The album has a few weak points. After a while, all the tracks are pop songs and all sound alike. Some songs, such as “Sorry,” take on too much of a folk tint to work with the rest of the album. Still, with Lloyd’s beautiful vocals, even songs with these flaws sound good if not as good as the rest.
Stretch Princess proves sounds of pop music, with all the catchiness and memorable hooks that the genre implies, still can be a unique sound for a band. By taking the a hint of ’80s power-pop and combining it with the raw energy of ’90s bands, Stretch Princess creates an album in which any song could become a radio hit.