HotChaCha are a group that demands comparison. The all-female foursome belt out tunes that owe much to acts that have proceeded them. However, while many of their contemporaries follow suit, with overtly flattering reverence [see Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Raveonettes, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, et al], the ladies of HotChaCha have recorded a niche that, while derivative, reflects an enthusiastically edited list of influences. On the group's debut EP Rifle, I Knew You When You Were Just a Pistol, the band shot out of the gate, with promising post-punk ditties like "J'accuse" and "It's Hard to be a White Boy in 1992". The 2009 full-length, The Hardest Working Telescope and the Violent Birth of Stars, expanded into greater musical territory, with art punk eccentricity that flourished on the hauntingly somber (and arguably best-titled track of 2009) "Hookers Deserve a Lifetime Achievement Award" and danceable, should-be college radio hit "Ticket Away From Prague". Moreover, the album saw a group that was performing as such. Charismatic frontwoman Jovana Batkovic proved that she could be as rough and tumble as Poly Styrene and as softly engaging as Tinderbox-era Siouxsie & the Banshees, both vocally and lyrically. Mandy Aramouni proved she'd been studiously paging through the Tom Verlaine songbook and the effects catalog of Will Sergeant – along with taking notes on Martin Rev's synth stylings. Bassist Heather Gmucs and then-drummer Lisa Paulovcin provided an unfailingly solid rhythm, around which much of the music took shape. All these positive elements return on the group's new EP, released September 23 on Exit Stencil Recordings.
Clocking in at less than 20 minutes, the five-song EP Fantastic Static leads with "Naked Glass", as a menacing, lone guitar swells with steady bass and drums (now courtesy of Roseanna Safos), and feedback (static?), into a swirling shoegaze-y number, with Batkovic's vocals buried deeper in the mix than in previous efforts. "Traffic" opens with a Suicide-like riff and is driven by drums New Order's Stephen Morris would be proud of, in a quickly accessible, defiantly danceable tune Karen O wishes she wrote. The third track, "Bukarest", charges forward with an angular bass line featuring lyrical solo lines that keep pace with Batkovic's sneering delivery, before falling into a soaring chorus. The reverb gets dialed up on "Notes of Urgency" for a catchy New Wave–inspired romp, where Aramouni flexes her guitar muscle, and it's impressive. At 4:23, "Pleasure Cruise" is the EPs longest track, the electronic blips, driving rhythm and Batkovic's particularly gravelly delivery recall the Kim Gordon–led "Kool Thing". A tempo shift at the halfway point quells the attack, before a final blast leaves listeners knowing, without a doubt, that these women can bring the noise.
On September 23, catch the band live at the HotChaCha record release party at Now That's Class. The band also plays the Ingenuity Festival on September 25 at 10:30 pm, and the Grog Shop on September 27 with A Place to Bury Strangers. Listen to new tracks on page two!