The Eyeliners

Nothing drives conscientious punk rockers crazier than having their shtick absorbed by MTV. You might think the Eyeliners would be smarting badly right about now, what with tough-girl bubblepunk having come full circle from the platinum Go-Go's to the underground Muffs and back into the Top 40 again with the Donnas and (ouch!) Kelly Osbourne. But the three Albuquerque-bred sisters (Laura, Gel and Lisa, whose surname remains a mystery) approach their craft with such workmanlike devotion, they might not even have noticed their sudden brush with marketability. Their sound is the muscled-up, '60s-derived pop pioneered in the last decade by bands like the Queers. Despite the retro girl-group attitude (think Shangri-las), the Eyeliners don't play behind the screen of irony that makes similar bands often seem smug. Instead, they just have a great time, as evidenced by their exuberant rave-ups and infectious ballads. And Laura somehow manages to keep her lead vocals sweet and earthy while bashing away in her other capacity as drummer. No word yet on whether the Eyeliners have signed any perilous dotted lines lately (they're comfortably seated at reputable indie Lookout), but it's tough to find a band of their kind that better deserves a fair shot at the mainstream.

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