Don't mistake The Barrettes for four pretty faces out to seize attention.
By Erika J. Bock
Posted: Aug. 30, 2007
As a "how did your band get together" story, the genesis of The Barrettes is sheer perfection.
In the summer of 2004, JoAnn Riedel stumbled up to the merchandise table for the band Skexies during Ladyfest, a celebratory festival for women in the arts in Lansing, Mich. She missed the band's performance, but then-members Julie Kaczmarek and Joey Zocher were generous enough to give her a CD, with the promise that she would repay them at the Skexies' next Milwaukee show.
What was the compensation for that lone CD? Well, it was forming a band. (The fourth member, rollergirl Crystal Rausch, was added not long afterward.)
There are obvious comparisons to be made between The Barrettes and other all-girl groups, such as Sleater-Kinney and Butchies, and the seeming (and sexist) novelty of chicks who rock. But that overshadows the driving force behind the band.
"The point is fun," said Zocher, the group's guitarist and vocalist.
The most beautiful aspect of The Barrettes is the near-effortless way they blend the undiluted joy of playing together with the passion for their music. And it's all tied together by a fine grasp of their craft. Pegged as a cross between T. Rex and the B-52s, The Barrettes meld sweet pop punk antics and an assertive stage presence with a fresh musical vision that subs a cello for a bass guitar and adds the uncommon elements of mandolin and melodica.
The Barrettes rock just as hard as any other band. Skirts or not.