Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Patrick Stolley
Take youth and let it try to serve itself, let it try to figure out the unknowable passages through all of the various catacombs of getting by the lady bug unscathed and you're in for a treat or a catastrophe. There is no long way around. There is no avoidance technique that has been proven to work and there is no balm that soothes the pinch and itch of it like Calamine lotion. If girls were like mosquito bites, The Virgins of the great city of New York, would be covered from head-to-toe with eraser-pink dots of ointment, hoping that all of the bite marks would stop needing fingernails. When the girls hit, they hit hard. We hear that matter-of-factly in lead singer Donald Cumming's droll and disaffected voice. What's always been so downright boggling about these girls, in the majority of all cases, is that they've always been able to stay four steps of the curve - or just their male adversaries/guppies - in the art of cunning.
All of the superpowers that one can mess around with and fantasize about bringing into their repertoire for fake battles are the ones that they have and they're ninjas with them. They can dice you like onions. They can become invisible. They can X-ray glass right through sorry lies and they can do with or do without. In most of the recorded dialogue about these matters of sneaky and bedeviling women - be it text or music - has the ladies winning, by a landslide. They make those boys into the putty that they're not supposed to be and then just work them over until they're red in the face or bawling in a heap by a telephone.
The Virgins presuppose that everything's a bit more even-handed - that the boys and the girls are about to play the rubber game in the series, but it will likely go deep into the extra innings and then get suspended because of darkness. They presuppose that no one's ever going to succeed in conquering, that there will be a forever tie. This will be a stalemate, flaming off into the sunset like a chemical trail off of an airplane, making its own kind of pink and orange cloudy spiral. Both sides are formidable - advancing and rebuffing. There is a general theme of coy aloofness running through Cumming's tales of slippery ladies and dodgy nights.
There seems to be a lot of talk - SO MUCH fucking talk - between these natty jean-jacketed, Clash and Paul Simon-loving Casanovas and the objects of their affections that it's all that ever gets accomplished. Who doesn't know what that's all about? Everyone meets up at over-communication junction - following last call and prefacing hitting up that 24-hour corner convenience store in Brooklyn for deli sandwiches or snagging burritos and salsa at four in the morning. That's where everything stalls, gets locked into that no man's land of chatter and circling and no moves. A place where all moves die. It's just a blizzard of hot and bothered blathering, impressing and charming that makes for all catting and mousing and no dinner.
The music that these Virgins - bassist Nick Zarin-Ackerman, guitarist Wade Oates and drummer Erik Ratensperger - ply for these reminiscences of scenes from the sporting life are incredibly uplifting and danceable, just like the episodes in the hipster clubs that likely set all of these chases into motion. They've made an album - with their eponymous debut - that is as surely an instant hit as The Killers' Hot Fuss was back when it was released in 2004. Cumming sings, "Lovin' isn't easy but it sure is fun," and he sounds like a far less possessed, more sedated Jerry Lee Lewis wailing about chewing his nails and twiddling his thumbs, feeling real nervous, but savoring being completely lit up, hot for a girl and going after it until the night or all nights run out of ink.
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