“Bikini Grill” is an album of no less than 15 tracks, first of all because it was composed in a very long span of time: started in 2019 and ended in 2021, with very different inputs and an evolving context, with long periods of lockdown that have inevitably led the band to write new songs, thus turning the stall into creative energy (the track Life 2020 is an example).
But also because 15 tracks are the bare minimum to bring out all the souls, influences and facets of the band. There is in fact a solid base of punk 77 and garage rock, but there are also incursions into other worlds, such as dream pop (The Unicorn), the most contemporary surf (Laura Palms), new wave (with the adaptation of the theme of the MTV show Daria in a Devo key), pop punk (Cabot Cove) and a more experimental and ‘weird’ rock (with experiments such as the cover of Yoko Ono Kiss Kiss Kiss and the original Dai Dai Dai).
Bikini Grill is an old-fashioned work: instead of proposing different singles over time, as the times of social networks and streaming would impose, the album embodies and represents in a single work all the colors of the band, but also the passions and obsessions of its components. In fact, we find a light-hearted and carefree sphere, with references to the dimension of childhood (from unicorns to afternoons spent at the TV), and an unrestrained rock’n’roll one (Feel the Heat is an ode to life on tour); there is also a self-deprecating dimension (the band jokes about the lack of athletic preparation in (I’m) Fit like Mick Jagger and hypochondria in Travelling Drugstore); but there is also room for more serious issues, such as female empowerment (We Strike) and the well-worn paradigm of ‘female’ rock opposed to the ‘male’ one (We don’t play like men).
The very title of the album is emblematic of the self-deprecating dimension and the spirit between serious and playful that characterizes The Cleopatras: “Bikini Grill” pays homage to Kathleen Hanna’s icons of girl power, but does so in its own way.