Much is made of Plastiscines' national origin, looks, and gender. Yes, zey are French, which gives them a sort of exotic cultural cachet that would be surpassed only if they were Swedish. And oui, they are très belles, with blunt haircuts and blunter cheekbones that have translated well to the two-dimensional world of mags like Brit tastemaker Dazed & Confused. And finally, yes, they are all girls, and hovering around the end of their teenage years — but the Runaways and company long ago proved these factors unimportant in rocking out. Luckily the Plastiscines' debut album cuts through all the bullshit — it's a 13-track package of punked-up rock with just a little tongue in New Wave cheek, presented with a take-it-or-leave-it 'tude.

We'll take it. The record rip-roars to a start with "Shake (Twist Around the Fire)," a sort of X-minus-John Doe minor-key raveup. From there the songs continue to teeter around a Stooges-like threat of falling apart, powering through chords just sloppily enough, before snapping back, rubber band style, into airtight yelped group choruses. About half are in French (props), including the charming "(Zazie Fait de la) Bicyclette," a chanson-bop ditty set in the mod Sixties that would just sound lame in English. LP1 might not be anything supergroundbreaking, but then again, humans continue to use the wheel. Some things were gotten right the first time, and a new update only makes 'em better-running and sexier.


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