After two disappointing major label records, Bay Area rock pinups the Donnas return to indieland with the wishfully titled “Bitchin’.”
With their jokey Lolita image far behind them, the foursome seems to have also permanently turned their sexy backs on the Ramones-inspired simplicity of their earlier releases (“Maximum Teenage Rock and Roll Machine,” “Get Skintight”). Yet “Bitchin'” feels like a band going through the motions. “Wasted” recalls ’90s alt-rock, while Joan Jett’s influence is almost embarrassingly over-represented on “Don’t Wait Up For Me.” It’s all very slick and radio-ready, but many of the well-honed guitar licks and calculated anthem choruses are as tired-sounding as ’70s arena rock hits. There’s just not much fun to be had here, although “Save Me” comes close, as does “Love You Till It Hurts” when it flirts with ’60s girl group sounds.