I don’t believe in giving a zero rating. The effort of writing a song, going to a studio and performing it, and pressing the recording is enough to get you a 1.0 in my book. But that’s all it’ll get you. And it’s all it got the Rogers Sisters, too. They do nothing more than the bare essentials to be classified as a rock band. Yes, Purely Evil has songs on it, which, technically, makes it an album. But Purely Evil is inferior to basically every other album I have ever heard.
Okay, that’s not fair. I know that’s hyperbole. But we’ve all been there. It’s like when you hear a great album for the first time, you tend to blow its greatness out of proportion. The same thing happened to me when I listened to this twenty-eight-minute dungfest. I was convinced for a good twenty minutes that this was the worst album of all-time. But given a few minutes to calm down I realized that Purely Evil was merely a horrible, horrible album.
Actual talent means nothing in the face of creativity. Bands like the Shaggs pounded out some of the greatest songs ever without an ounce of “talent.” I mean, what is talent anyway? If Steve Vai is “talent,” then I’m not interested in that sort of thing. But creativity, that’s another story. The Rogers Sisters suffer from the cruel fate of being both unimaginative and musically inept. They probably have the same fetishes for bands like Gang of Four, Wire, and PiL that a lot of other New York City bands like the Rapture and Ex Models have. But it’s a case of being able to fashion your influences into really enjoyable music. The Rogers Sisters have not come even remotely close. All the songs on Purely Evil, especially on the album’s best song (believe me that’s not saying much), “Now They Now,” seem to be aiming for same jittery assaults of nervous energy that better bands pull off effortlessly. At it’s best, Purely Evil sounds labored and lethargic, and at its worst, it sounds completely ridiculous.
What really sinks this album are its amateurish lyrics. Take the song “Delayed Reaction,” where guitarist Jennifer Rogers sings, “When you’re feeling so good, you can’t remember what you did/ When you’re feeling so bad, you can’t remember feeling glad.” But a good voice can salvage even some of the worst lyrics. It’s a shame that Jennifer Rogers sings like Alvin and the Chipmunks trying to cover Le Tigre after a weeklong coke binge. I have a general rule with bands and their lyrics. If you don’t print them in the inlay, then I don’t care about them. However, the Rogers Sisters proudly printed out the words so we can sing along to every single “oh ho oh hoo oh” (“Song For Freddie”), “oh yeah” (“The Money Life”), and “wooooooooooo” (“The Black Anniversary”). That’s right, they put “wooooooo” in the lyric sheet. The Rogers Sisters’ primary goal in crapping out Purely Evil seemed to be to make a really fun album that will serve as the soundtrack to someone’s enjoyment. I’m all for good time music, too, and I can tell that The Rogers Sisters at least had fun making this album. That certainly doesn’t mean I had fun listening to it.