Penelope Houston's solo career has long veered from her snarling roots with the Avengers, one of the West Coast's pioneering punk bands. Her transformation in the 80's from punk goddess to singer-songwriter not only showcased a surprisingly tender yet fierce soprano, but probably heralded the likes of Liz Phair and Tanya Donelly.
On her latest, Snapshot, an EP consisting of five choice covers mining a late 60's and early 70's sound, Houston is backed by the Maydays, a tight mod trio complete with psychedelic Moog synthesizer. And if these tracks were some of her influences, it's no surprise that Houston settled into this less blistering folk-rock sound.
Snapshot is a garage-pop precursor combining Houston's past with her present, thanks largely to obscure nuggets. The EP is pure pop bliss, particularly in the opener, "Maybe We've Been Loving Too Long," a track originally recorded by the Flying Machine. The only recognizable track is the Band's "It Makes No Difference," which remains a largely intricate, piano-driven success.
-- Kim Newman, Venuszine, April 2004