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Album Review: The Virgins - The Virgins

It's a shame for New York's The Virgins that Josh Schwartz's career is going so well. The TV wunderkind garnered acclaim in 2003 for his series The O.C., which took as its focus the over privileged teens of Orange County.

Thanks to The O.C.'s success, Schwartz upgraded his productions, and is currently working on hit comedy spy series Chuck, The O.C. a distant memory.

To clarify...

In Orange County, the characters liked to drink, take drugs and fall into bed with one another - and after all that, they liked hanging out at 'The Bait Shop' watching tuneful indie rock. In season two, cool venue of Newport, The Bait Shop, played host to alt. combos such as The Walkmen, Modest Mouse and Death Cab For Cutie... and, if there were any justice in this world, The Virgins would have been there too.

This is no insult - there were some great bands on The O.C.'s soundtracks, who stood to gain a lot of recognition and success thanks to Schwartz's patronage. Unfortunately, Johnny-Come-Latelys The Virgins formed the year that Schwartz's pseudo-fictional world was on its way out, and more's the pity, because here are a band who would pack The Bait Shop wall-to-wall.

It's easy to imagine doe-eyed little rich girl Marisa bopping along without a sense of irony to tuneful pop rock slice 'She's Expensive', struck by its INXS-style pizzazz and enthusiastic 80s-aping.

With a swift change of camera angle, Marisa's gaze would settle upon star-crossed boyf Ryan to angular Duran Duran-esqe 'Teen Lovers', their lingering glances packed with meaning and sound tracked with this delicious new wave tune.

Meanwhile, Ryan's wing man Seth tries not to stare too fervently in the direction of on-off love interest Summer in the arms of another - probably interloper Zach - to the strains of 'Private Affair', which owes more than a little to the harmonious guitar vein of Elvis Costello. In fact, influence from Talking Heads, Red Hot Chili Peppers and more is on show throughout the record, the band's first.

Made to sound like five fellas with a lot more experience than they actually have, "The Virgins" is packed with swagger - 'Rich Girls' - and heartache - 'Love Is Colder Than Death' - and even a little homicide - 'Murder'. There's plenty here to please - great tunes, fantastic lyrics and bags of style.

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