For those of us with long enough memories of dodgy heavy metal, talk of an American female guitarist who plays riffs at lightning speed can only conjure up horrific images of an artist called The Mighty Kat (whose key track, if you wish to know, was called -Heavy Metal Beethoven’). Yet these are thankfully modern times and not only does New Yorker Stern not feel the need to don spandex – although there’s a headband very much in evidence – she is also a favourite of Pitchfork, as opposed to Metal Hammer. None of which should make any sense but strangely, it does.
What carries her through is her sheer self belief in what could have been an utterly ridiculous concept: a guitarist reminiscent of Eddie Van Halen at his most showy, performing alternative rock songs solo. What it actually is, though, is an, at times, hugely exciting record that rushes past at the speed of light. It helps that her songs are pretty decent, coming down far more in the cool New York camp then any overblown metal extravaganza. There are elements of both though, which is what makes it as unique as its title. An unexpected pleasure.