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WHALE (Buy CDs by this artist)
Pay for Me EP (Hut/Caroline) 1995
We Care (Virgin) 1995
All Disco Dance Must End in Broken Bones (UK Hut) 1998

Oh, those wacky Scandinavians. When they're not dominating the world's mush-pop charts with bands whose names begin with A, they're slyly undermining the reliability of genres (death metal, cocktail pop) in which their participation comes as something of a surprise. Whale's contribution to the region's cause is a playful crotch-first take on modern woman-sung rock. Meandering aimlessly between driven fuzz-guitar rock, stylish dance grooves and traces of imported hip-hop on We Care — imagine R. Kelly producing Alanis Morissette with backing by Portishead — the shameless Swedish trio levels such smarmy assaults on taste and intelligence as "I'll Do Ya," "Hobo Humpin' Slobo Babe" and "Young, Dumb & Full of Cum." In an accented, just-fucked voice, Cia Berg scatters topical references (Nine Inch Nails and Sarah Cracknell of Saint Etienne are both mentioned in "Eurodog"; MTV newsman Kurt Loder's name crops up in "That's Where It's At") and crude sexual euphemisms with a friendly wink that partly excuses the endeavor's essential obnoxiousness. What's harder to forgive is the trio's weakness for endless repetition of its simple choruses, but that's a whale of a different story.

[Ira Robbins]