The term "girl group" was coined in the early '60s and these groups were pop oriented. A decade plus later, The Runaways set the Rock "girl group" template. The Bangles and Go-Go's solidified it in the '80s. Years later in male dominated Rock, the "girl group" concept still has novelty appeal.
The Cocktail Slippers' story has two tracks. First, the group got together following the collapse of the Barbarellas. The Oslo based band issued their debut, "Rock It," in '02.
The second rail involves Bruce Springsteen's longtime sideman, Steven Van Zandt. For a number of years Springsteen worked without the E Street Band. Van Zandt could have stayed home waiting for the phone to ring but he decided to branch out. Turning to acting, Van Zandt was a regular on the highly acclaimed TV show, The Sopranos. More importantly though, Van Zandt launched a syndicated radio show (also on Sirius Satellite Network), Little Steven's Underground Garage where he exposed listeners to the latest in Garage Rock. To help support these bands Van Zandt started Wicked Cool Records.
One of the band's that was featured on the radio show was the Cocktail Slippers. And the group subsequently signed with Wicked Cool. "They're talented, they understand Rock and Roll is a craft and they work hard at it, and they never stop wanting to learn and improve," said Van Zandt.
'07's "Masterpiece" was the Cocktail Slippers' first effort for the label. Not much happened except band member turnover (on guitar and drums).
Here's where it pays to ask. While the group was in the midst of recording it became apparent that they needed a couple more songs. So they asked Van Zandt if he had any ideas. Turns out, much to everyone's surprise, he did, contributing "'Heard You Got a Thing For Me" and the title track for the '09 set, "St. Valentine's Day Massacre."
"Masterpiece" is a down and dirty shot of Punk inspired Garage Rock - and it's a good one at that. "St Valentine's Day Massacre" is more polished but still impressive. Each album has its appeal but for different reasons.
"Mastermind" has a "let 'er rip" quality riding the line between Punk and Garage with a ton of chords, mixed down vocals and a driving backbeat. They cut loose on "Give It To Me" and deliver classic Garage with "My Man."
"St. Valentine's Day Massacre" backs off the accelerator preferring to work the Go-Go's/The Bangles turf. They also borrow heavily from and updating girl group trademarks - handclaps, backing vocals and a sense of sass.
"You Do Run" lifts the Ronettes' "Da Do Run Run" and mixes it with the Go-Go's pop sensibilities. The title track has a tougher sound, close to The Bangles. "Round & Round" travels down the same path. "Gotta Crush" is pure girl group fun and the set closer "Heard You Got A Thing For Me" is a sparse, wicked cool track.