By Margaret Welsh
Pittsburgh Current Music Editor
Bruises to Prove It
On her debut EP, Bruises to Prove It, Maleena brings the kind of confidence one would expect from someone who has been performing onstage since at least age 9. Now 18, having logged a couple busy years playing bass in the rock band Chip & the Charge Ups, is fulfilling what she describes as a lifelong dream, releasing her own solo record.
Bruises to Prove It doesn’t stray too far from the highly produced pop-punk/power pop of the Charge Ups. Here, her frank, The Slits-sing-the -Grease-soundtrack voice bends slightly towards the Sandy end of the spectrum.
Billed as “sweet and sentimental,” Bruises to Prove It is an unabashedly teenage record, dealing with first heartbreaks, feelings of groundlessness, nostalgia, and — of course — how to deal with trust fund babies.
Younger people may relate, but musically, the EP is likely to appeal to listeners who can only remember their teens. Maleena’s songwriting occasionally offers shades of the classic teen pop of the ’50s and ’60s, but in terms of performance and production this record looks more directly to ’80s stadium rock, ’90s grunge and even the radio rock of the early aughts.
Maleena has clearly developed her own sense of performative flair in her years of appearing with choirs and rock camp bands and with her current band, but it’s also easy to see where she draws influence from her dad, who is the “Chip” in the Charge Ups and previously fronted the hair metal band Chip DiMonick: anyone familiar with those projects will find a familiar theatrical tone in Bruises to Prove It, albeit with a few more slow dances. Having achieved her solo record dream, I’m curious to see where Maleena takes her music from here.