High School Sweethearts – Passing Notes – Review

High School Sweethearts

Passing Notes (Get Hip)
by Jon Sarre

As stiletto-sharp nods to ’60s girl groups punked out by a motley crew which includes one ex-Electric Frankenstein (John Steele, who’s traded his drums in for a guitar here) and assorted NY/NJ hardcore vets go (not like there’s been a whole lotta precedents for this sorta thing), High School Sweethearts are a fun session of heavy petting in Palisades Park. Sure, it could appear to be lo-cal bubblegum, but the rock’s just too meaty to be anyone’s guilty pleasure. Steele and Bill Gill (ex-Holeshot)’s take on the Johnny Thunders songbook rightfully includes the long Shadow (Morton, that is) cast by the tough tramps who influenced the New York Heartbreaking Doll’s musical upbringing. There’s another former Holeshot, Jason Pavia, on bass and ex-Lifetimer Ari Katz is on drums and together they supply a rhythm section you wouldn’t expect to find here. Cynthia Santiglia and farfisa-plinker Tannis Kristjanson recall the Shangra Las’ (or mebbe the Pandoras) switchblade cutting, yet Angel-ic (or mebbe Crystal-ic) vocals in such a way that it’s difficult to tell originals from oldies like “Honeymoon City,” the Stones’ “One More Try,” “Has Anyone Seen My Boyfriend” (which features Peggy Davision of the Angels, who originally recorded the song). This oughtta tell ya they can write songs, too. Nice.