The Vault: The Feminine Complex’s Easy Pop

Dec 12th, 2006 // 2 Comments

feminine.jpgWhen they formed in 1966, Nashville’s The Feminine Complex were one of their hometown’s few all-female bands, and they got their chops playing dances around town; their 1969 album Livin’ Love is filled with psych-tinged sweetness. The raucous demo of “I’ve Been Workin’ On You” hints at the band’s girls-in-the-garage origins, while “Hide & Seek” makes us wonder if the Complex wasn’t on some level the less debaucherous counterpoint to The Carrie Nations.

The Feminine Complex – Hide & Seek [MP3, link expired]
The Feminine Complex – Time Slips By [MP3, link expired]
The Feminine Complex – I’ve Been Workin’ On You (Demo) [MP3, link expired]
The Feminine Complex [teenbeatrecords.com]

  1. Chris Molanphy

    This is the second overlooked CD you guys have peeped that I reviewed for CMJ back in the day (1996, to be exact). Here’s my review:

    THE FEMININE COMPLEX Livin’ Love Teenbeat
    What do you get when you cross a rough-and-tumble ’60s garage band with a bunch of unwitting feminists? An all-girl band lost to the ages, the Feminine Complex recorded one album, Livin’ Love, for Nashville’s Athena label in 1969. But thanks to the onset of college, the five young women had gone their separate ways by the time the ill-fated record hit the racks. Reissued by Teenbeat in 1996 with an album’s worth of demos appended, Livin’ Love is an appealingly dated collection of strawberry letters set to watered-down Memphis soul and AM-ready pop. The original album was overlaid with session musicians – fuzzy guitars and a cheesy brass section crop up everywhere – but the relatively polished demos included on the reissue show that the FC had real potential: singer Mindy Dalton possessed a clean alto that was maturing into a Dusty-esque croon, and Stax-inspired organist Pame Stephens was eager to jam. Far from being proto-riot-grrrls in the mold of the Runaways, the FC five sang polite pop songs that Neil Diamond could have easily covered – if not for the lyrics, which sounded like Tampax commercials (“Hide and seek, a rose in your garden, can you find yourself?”). Like watching The Brady Bunch Movie, one tends to listen to the FC’s music amid smirking irony. But as a historical document, Livin’ Love is fascinating, a window into how women B.S.Q. (before Suzi Quatro) appropriated rock culture. Who needs the Monkees when you can be them?
    -[dennisobell]

    Recommended If You Like: The Partridge Family, the If I Were a Carpenter tribute CD.

  2. kerrang

    there’s another feminine complex reissue on teen beet (yellow cover, forget name) that’s great too – amazing version of “here comes the judge”. really worth checking out!

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