Two women from Norway, two guys from California and one giant Molly Hatchet diss: Welcome to Alligator, the debut record by the intercontinental band Guards of Metropolis. Scandinavian and American West Coast influences collide in an angry yet smart sonic brew that's original and imminently commercial. In garage-band-meets-pop-band style, this snappy quartet addresses such lyrical hot buttons as mental illness ("Postcards from Heaven"), immigration ("Fadeaway") and the recording process ("Alligator"). Musically, severe tempo drops ("On My Own"), an edgy effort in F# minor ("Why") and even a lilting country-tinged ballad ("Tired") demonstrate why the female-fronted Guards of Metropolis are more talented, flexible and tolerable than your average indie rockers.
As for that Molly Hatchet diss, it comes early — on the second song, in fact — in "Exhole," a blitzed kiss-off that opens with the following lines: "You crashed my car/Pulling in the driveway/Your mullet friend blew up my stereo/The air-guitar you play to Molly Hatchet/Is a sign it's time for me to go."
The rest of Alligator, however, proves that it's really time for Guards of Metropolis to stay — even if they don't like Molly Hatchet.
1) Perfect World
3) Don't Wanna Be Like You
5) How Does It Feel (To Be Unreal?)
6) The Way You Are
7) Postcards from Heaven
8) On My Own
11) Already Gone