Formed in Detroit in 1997, the all-female Gore Gore Girls have undergone personnel changes with each of their CDs, with singer/guitarist Amy Gore the only constant. On this, the group’s fourth release, she is joined by drummer Nicky Styxx, bassist Carol Anne Schumacher, and lead guitarist Marlene “Hammer” Hammerle.
The distortion and decibel level suggest punk, but the quartet’s sensibilities are closer to ’60s girl groups like the Ronettes and garage-rockers like the Kingsmen. Schumacher, who also plays with the Detroit Cobras, recently upped her resume in this arena when, as a member of the Reigning Sound, she backed Shangri-Las lead singer Mary Weiss, on her stirring Norton comeback, Dangerous Game.
The set is filled with simple, hooky originals like “Sweet Potato” (sort of a “Hully Gully” soundalike), a co-write with mover/shaker Kim Fowley called “Pleasure Unit,” a cover of the Crystals’ “All Grown Up” (penned by Phil Spector, Ellie Greenwich, and Jeff Barry), and a moody Poppy Family obscurity, “Where Evil Grows.”
The visceral lead on “Don’t Cry” shows how Hammer got her name, and her Yardbirds-esque instrumental, “Hammer Stomp,” makes the Donnas sound like Steely Dan.
Not surprisingly, this fuzz fest was produced by ex-Beatosonic Jim Diamond, at his Ghetto Recorders in Motor City.
In their mini skirts, ratted hair, go-go boots, and Gretsch guitars (including the bass), the Girls are a guitar nerd’s (and, therefore, a certain company’s marketing department’s) fantasy.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Sep ’07 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.