It's a strange coincidence that Vancougar's newest album, Canadian Tuxedo, was released less than two weeks after the final episode of the Canadian teen series Instant Star, a runaway hit among preteen fans of Avril Lavigne who harbor a soft spot for Hillary Duff. Before the fourth track takes a retro turn, the album sounds like a soundtrack for the show. Perhaps trying to reach this demographic, the Canadian band's new label, Mint Records, is touting Vancougar with the peppy tagline "Half indie rock, half garage, all girl!"
Very little about Canadian Tuxedo sounds like garage rock - at least the raw-and-dirty garage of the Stooges or the White Stripes - but it succeeds as a guilty-pleasure pop-punk listen, just like parts of the soundtrack to Instant Star. The turnaround track, the doo-woppy ballad "(I Hope Your) Money (Keeps You Warm)," gives ex-boyfriends the finger with spiteful saccharin, while "Distance" and "Obvious" pair big, catchy guitar riffs with sweet-yet-robust pop vocals that recall Blondie - in a good way.