Britney Spears They Ain’t- by Nick Bendel/

Britney Spears they ain’t.

If you’re looking for manufactured music straight from the production line, the Tyrants in Therapy aren’t your guy and gal. Instead, what Michael J and AbbeAbbe offer on their second studio record is the sort of irony, originality and quirkiness for which they’re renowned.

Nine years in the making, High Class Trash is an excellent sequel to their wonderful debut, Meet the Tyrants in Therapy. To say it rocks would be to miss the mark, because it also pops, grooves, countrys, cabarets, dances, romances…you get the point. In other words, it’s trademark Tyrants.

One of the joys of listening to the Tyrants is to hear the interplay between Michael J and AbbeAbbe, the Los Angeles-based couple who have been married for almost as long as they’ve been collaborating. Sometimes they will attack a song together, as in the jaunty title track. On other occasions, as in the droll Words Like That, they will attack each other, as deprecating lines get hurled back and forth.

Another of the pleasures provided by the Tyrants is the unapologetic way in which they embrace diversity and creativity. This is not the sort of band content to do the same thing over and over again. Instead, they challenge the listener with an array of sounds and approaches. One notable example is My Masculinity, the ironic groove that is delivered in an intoxicatingly breathy voice by AbbeAbbe, and which is reminiscent of the Rolling Stones’ Miss You. It could not be more different from BS Hollywood, the up-tempo expose of the sort of superficiality epitomised by someone like Spears. And that, in turn, could not be further removed from Apocalypso, the playful tune that is part Tex-Mex and part Caribbean. Confused? Well, it all makes as much sense as you want it to.

Perhaps the best take on this band is to explain that while their music doesn’t take itself too seriously, it nevertheless manages to hit artistic heights that most groups would be envious of. In the immortal words of AbbeAbbe: “High, low, high, low/Everybody must get trashy, trashy, trashy!”

Tyrants: please don’t make us wait another decade for your next record.

– Nick Bendel