She Mob

rock, haunt, amuse and confound

That time Richard Riegel gave us a review in The Village Voice

Posted on Jan 4, 2016

Posing by Joy's house, Oakland, CA, late '90s.

She Mob posing by Joy’s house, Oakland, CA, late ’90s.

Time passages—ephemeral memories! Lisa was snooping around our old archived site, particularly our press reviews, and lo and behold, there was a Richard Riegel write-up on our first album Cancel The Wedding that she’d completely forgotten about. It was a two-fer, combining Riegel’s thoughts on our debut effort and the 60s-era Sacramento garage band reissue from the band She.

Below is the She Mob part. The entire review is STILL online(!) Lisa’s copying-&-pasting our mention below (for posterity) just in case the Voice decides to trash or rearrange its archive. Gotta look ahead to our future Wikipedia article—those require citations and plenty of them. Here it is, from the dawn of a new century…

She’s Not There (Not Anymore, Anyway)
By Richard Riegel, February 8, 2000, The Village Voice

I’ll never doubt you again, Goddess! She Mob came to my mailbox as a promo disc earlier on, whereas I’d deliberately ordered the newly issued She set (paid own $$) from an oldies catalog, because the blurb made it sound “interesting.” Only after they’d taken over my player’s deck time with back-to-back spins did I realize that the paranormal parallels between the two don’t stop with their names. Both are all-female (save one token Y-chromo in She Mob), both hail from northern California, both play highly catchy and intelligent thwack-rock of their own composition, both could be described as “lo-fi” in sound (only if you think that’s a problem), neither works for one of the four remaining music conglomerates . . . but the punch line is that these separated-at-birth albums were recorded 30 years apart! …

Thirty years on, with ever so many consciousnesses (F & M) raised in the meantime, the womyn of San Francisco’s She Mob rock on with the kind of semiobscure purity once lived out by their forewenches in She, releasing their own material until big companies catch on. The newer band is less dominated by one focal presence, as Sue Hutchinson and Diane Wallis trade lead vocals as well as guitar and bass slots. Whoever’s singing—Hutchinson in her expressive gush, Wallis as a kind of litterbox-trained Nico, or drummer Lisa McElroy—the homemade lyrics are clever and funny slices of everyday lives carried on beneath the radar of the daily orgies atop the stock market, in humbly passionate rooms where people take Prozac and are sometimes reincarnated as puppies. Let’s just call She Mob “passive-resistance grrrls.”

The voices alternately soar and then converse in manic harmonies, while insistent skrotch from guitars and bass and drums keeps you anchored to the eternal beat. The under-a-minute “Luge” sounds like Pere Ubu going bicoastal if not binary, while “I Took the $” gets down to brassy attacks: “I know that you know/That I know that you know/He says that I’m away.” “Teacher” boldly admonishes the Newtocrite males who continually defame the profession that it’s no walk in the sandbox. The members of She Mob are already in their thirties (only if you think that’s a problem), so they may have shed some precocious illusions along the way, but their cheek and smarts are just as cheeky and smartass as those of She, who recorded during their true-blue teen-and-twenties years (but who are actually older than She Mob in real-time ages by now). Got that?


  1. Just ran across your posting of my review when I was looking for something else — thanks for the citation. Seeing my name larger than Greil Marcus’s in your list of topics (does not happen every day) is a nice bonus. Despite my praise of “Cancel the Wedding”, I couldn’t locate it in my CD’s now, guess it got away over the years, though I did find “Turn to Chocolate” and enjoyed hearing it again. Glad you’re keeping the faith by still performing as She Mob. I’ve been retired as a “rock critic” since around 2007, as the final two editors I was writing for both got canned, and there didn’t seem to be any openings that appealed to me elsewhere. There will never be another CREEM. But lots of the music from my writing years still sounds good.

    Best dishes,
    Richard Riegel

    • Hi Richard – we have no idea why we weren’t alerted to your comment until now, so many months later. Thanks, WordPress, for cluing us in eventually. It’s so nice to hear from you. We appreciate your kind words regarding the band that will not die. We found a box of “Cancel the Wedding”‘s in a closet recently so its status has been bumped from “extremely rare” to “somewhat rare.” We’re happy to send you a copy if you’d like. We’ll be playing some of those older tunes at our next show in May, 2018. Hope you’re having a good semi-retirement, since writers never retire entirely, in general. Keep rawking, She Mob

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