Morningwood (Capitol)

Once you get past the sophomoric band name (huh-huh, they said "wood") and the junior-high-level double entendres -- i.e., the tits references in "Take Off Your Clothes" -- Morningwood is pretty darn irresistible.

The N.Y.C. group's oft-delayed full-length debut whirls in a hormone-charged haze of fizzy new-wave cheerleading chants, punkish dance beats, and vocalist Chantal Claret's little-girl-lost coos and snarls. Gil Norton's production touch feels heavy (check the protruding bass lines and super-crunchy guitars on a few tunes, à la his famous clients, the Pixies), but a better touchstone on Morningwood is Le Tigre -- had that band skipped current-events class to go smoke in the bathroom and make out behind the bleachers. "Nth Degree" -- a Technicolor-keyboard explosion destined to pack dance floors -- and the punchy "Jetsetter" particularly shine. The second half of the disc unfortunately can't maintain this tireless energy, so consider Morningwood the equivalent of a hot-and-heavy smooching session at a party that doesn't end in a walk of shame the next morning.

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