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Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2009

The Barrettes

A Whole Lotta Melodica

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Melodica, cello, French horn, electrified ukulele and mandolin in a rock band, and it’s not prog? Believe it: The Barrettes put a punk sheen on all those elements, adding some of the fiercest chick-rock vocals Milwaukee has produced in some time. The Barrettes recall ’80s English gal-centric acts such as The Slits, Au Pairs and Essential Logic. And listeners recalling the Cream City’s new-wave heritage may make a connection to The Oil Tasters and Ama-Dots in some of the group’s buzzy, slightly Middle Eastern swagger. However, it’s likely that none of the aforementioned ever sang about their home burg’s roller derby girls, a scene in which The Barrettes also have roots. And the band is as sonically tough as those sisters in skates and shoulder pads.