Release Date: Jun 3, 2008
Record label: Atlantic
Virgins? Not likely. Downtown NYC’s latest unofficial house band (already embraced by the fashion and ”lifestyle” press) come off like regulation rock stars on their debut: debauched, sexy, and very likely to dump you for another girl by Friday. Singer Donald Cumming’s Elvis Costello-lite vocals slide easily from arch (”Rich Girls”) to tender (”Love Is Colder Than Death”), while the band backs him like the Strokes on a funk bender, all big choruses and tightrope bass lines.
The Virgins have been on a meteoric rise since playing alongside Patti Smith and Sonic Youth at fashion week in Paris -- it was their third-ever show -- and getting signed to Atlantic after one EP, supposedly before anyone at the label actually saw the band live. It's reminiscent of a certain other group of leather-jacket-wearing New Yorkers that rose to prominence earlier this decade. And just like the Strokes, the Virgins offer nothing “new” by way of sonics.
Just when you thought the nu-new wave revolution was over, along come New York City’s the Virgins. The four-piece are about three years too late to make any sort of real impact on the music scene at large, but if you’re still into jangly UK-influenced pop, then the band’s debut is worth checking out. It’s unoriginal, to be sure (think a less rocking version of Franz Ferdinand), but some of the tracks, like the disco-influenced Rich Girls, are catchy enough to bring at least a few minutes of pleasure.
The hackles inevitably rise at the knowledge that the Virgins, who share an artfully cool pad in downtown Manhattan, cut their teeth playing fashion shows, and number Agyness Deyn among their friends. The fact that singer Donald Cumming and guitarist Wade Oates were once models themselves bodes even less well. But it's worth stifling the disdain long enough to hear this album, which isn't nearly as irritating as it ought to be.