Google’s translator is fun and useful too! Not only does it spit out wonderfully mangled sentences like, “The four temperful musicians with the Dortmunder training room are well-known for their power Punk skirt,” but it allows me to be more or less sure that Pristine is an all-female band formed by two sisters, and that they bill themselves as “garage punk.” (Although everything I could find about them was written in German, they do sing in English, if you care.)
I usually take “garage” to be short-hand for concepts like “sloppy,” “raw,” and “uncomplicated.” Pristine’s tough guitar sound is plenty raw, but they’re nohow sloppy nor uncomplicated. Hands Up! Hands Up!’s songs are full of rhythmic and chromatic shifts, and the band is plenty tight.
There’s an unwritten rule of music journalism that bands with female singers shall only be compared to other bands with female singers; I’m not interested in perpetuating it. The gender makeup of the band and the yelpy, often overlapping, and high-pitched vocals are probably going to ensure that this band draws comparisons to that band that Corrin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein were in.
But my primary point of reference is mathy latter-day punkers like Hot Snakes. The choppy and key-hopping riffs of “Daddy Told Me” and ‘Mr. Sandstill” even remind me of weird heavy metallers Voivoid (minus the solos and sci-fi concepts). Like Hot Snakes, Pristine isn’t big on stylistic variation. “Fuckin Indie” is the biggest departure; there’s a wee bit of keyboard, and it flirts with a surf-punk vibe before diving back into rip-your-face-off crunch. But what they lack in versatility, they make up in consistency; the disc has plenty of high points — all of the aforementioned tunes, “Hobson’s Choice,” and “Lost ‘n’ Loyal” among them — but it doesn’t have any weak spots.