The Stellas

Thursday, July 31; Creepy Crawl

You know, the press almost writes itself for the Stellas: Another boy-girl, guitar-and-drums duo comes through town, complete with an adorable color scheme, to ride the coattails of the White Stripes. Such a write-up would be both lazy and incorrect: The Stellas forgo dirty blues in favor of straight-ahead, hook-laden pop. And maybe their pink-and-black color scheme is a bit on the nose considering the width and breadth of Jack and Meg's candy-striped trail, but we'll award points for style all the same.

On the Stellas' debut, Music for Umbrellas, the band churns out three-minute anthems of love, loss and longing, complete with a cover of the Cars' "Just What I Needed" spliced with Trio's "Da Da Da," creating some kind of new-wave Frankenstein's monster. Raechel Duncan juggles the tasks of singing sweetly while shredding her guitar mercilessly, tempering the saccharine with real grit. Drummer/programmer John London keeps things interesting with frantic beats and sweeping synths, overcoming the inherent sonic limitations of the duo. Together the pair is impossibly cute, making music that's as attractive as the musicians while providing for equal-opportunity ogling. Look for the Stellas' contribution on the upcoming That Dog tribute album, or better yet, catch them at the Creepy Crawl as they turn hardened punks into lovesick softies.