By Will Hermes
May 09, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT

Revisiting these Portland, Ore., punk-naif sweater girls a year after their charmingly moony debut is like running into a mousy ex who has become so hot and cool and confident you realize dumping her was the biggest mistake of your sorry life. Cantering songs about telephones and undependable boyfriends are now galloping rockers about girl secret agents and freeway freedom. And even when they are pining by the phone, they’re empowered by knowing it’s the stuff of their art. Cofronted by Jen Sbragia of sad, cotton-candy folkies the Softies, AGSFB traffic in Ramones riffs, Shangri-Las harmonies, and sugar-rush melodies. Sorta like the Donnas if the latter weren’t such metalheads. METER MADE ”Parallel Park” turns an activity that’s been dogging women forever into an anthem of self-determination.


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