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It Here: The Veronicas Rock

You Heard
It Here: The Veronicas Rock

Veronicas

The Aussie twin duo of Lisa and Jessica Origliasso, on their new release, wail an Advocate come-hither if we ever heard one: "I want to kiss a girl! I want to kiss a boy!"

In a perfect world, super-schoolgirl pop divas grow into gay icons out of inevitability and the will of a loving God -- but other times, tragically, there are those who have to beg for such exultation.

That's not to say the Veronicas, the Aussie twin duo of Lisa and Jessica Origliasso, need anyone but themselves to strike it rich with homo holdouts. However, on the track "Take Me on the Floor," they wail an Advocate come-hither if I've ever heard one: "I want to kiss a girl! I want to kiss a boy!" Rumor has it some places exist where attractive young women can try both.

But it doesn't take homoerotic histrionics for a queer connoisseur to love the Veronicas. Their new album, Hook Me Up, in its Pez-dispensing rush, is a quick-addicting fix caramelized with hollaback hooks and, naturally, breakup jams. Pretty delicious no matter who's getting kissed.

The Veronicas debuted in 2006 clouded in magenta watercolor rouge and murky mascara on The Secret Life of..., a pillow-fighting, whip-smart, teeny-yapper pop album that for once didn't sound like the undercooked muck of micro-tweezed label lushes who on the side can sort of sing. The Origliassos not only vocalize like bona fide, qualified pep rally champs, but they assist in penning most of their work, which jolts to emotional, beat-enhanced climaxes the way Kelly Clarkson did on Breakaway, except sexier and a bit savvier too. I don't believe Clarkson ever wrote off an ex with a seething coo like "I always thought you were gay" (Check it: "When It All Falls Apart" off The Secret Life of...). Though they dress like a rioting mosaic of Forever 21 and Hot Topic racks, The Veronicas pout with an urgency that defies Top 40 norms and probably most mall security guards.

Now the twins return with Hook Me Up, which builds on their debut's hyperkinetic kiss-offs, hard and hot with every (that's saying a lot) melodramatic turn. If "4ever" off the first album was the ultimate squealer, then new single "Untouched" ranks just as high, ramming in carnal anxiety and daft double-speak. "Give me what you got, got, 'cuz I can't wait, any m-more, more," the girls stamp out alongside the voltage of a killer string sample. Just when you concluded that no one could outstutter Paula Abdul's bridge on "Cold-Hearted," two uppity Outbackers break the seal.

The title track's sewer-crawling, swooning chorus is quintessential Veronicas territory, the kind of bopping that actually rocks when it pops. As with their first album, the Veronicas have us, by our throats, at hello.

The obvious third mega-winner is "Popular," a bombastic homecoming queen boast and potential new theme for The Hills. "Don't hate me 'cuz I am so popular," the song smarts, along with "My name is my credit card." Paired with an '80s-synth throwback (much like Kylie Minogue's recent X), the song feels glamorous in all its nerve and self-indulgence. The Veronicas possess that strange capacity to move us to root for the shallowness in their lyrics -- and not even ironically. Their unabashed delivery, particularly on "Revenge Is Sweeter (Than You Ever Were)" and "This Is How It Feels" testify to their mega-sincere, teen-diarist personas, even in just their titles. Who cares that these ladies are actually 23 years old? Their vibe strikes at our inner sophomore, when outrageous overreaction felt completely appropriate.

We can perhaps do without the songs that reiterate the same diary entries, namely "This Love" and "I Can't Stay Away," but even those cuts manage to vaunt some cutting identity. The album's climactic ballad, "In Another Life," feels in theory like a standard-order sob story slapped together with lame lyrics ("Wish I could save you from the world" and "I can't fight for you anymore" do crop up), but it's likable, mostly because teen diaries (even the embarrassing ones) are undeniably genuine.

While the jury's still out on the reality behind the Veronicas' thirst for girl-snogging, the girls stay righteous and raucous within their goth-lite sneers, cheeky use of cuss words, and, yeah, excellent songs. They rule over their self-serious amalgam of peers, like Avril Lavigne or Kelly Clarkson, especially as of late. This album was built for convertible shout-alongs, and whether that car heads for the mall, the club, or the house of an ex-boyfriend with a ready-flaming bag of doggy-doo, the ride's pulsating bounce remains refreshingly ferocious. Vindication and immaturity never felt so awesomely grown up.

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