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Finding a Groove With Girls Against Boys

In a world in which grindy punk bands are a dime a dozen, it helps to have a niche--and in a market that’s finally waking up to women’s buying power, the photogenic quartet Girls Against Boys has the distinct advantage of being among the few groups that play boy rock for chicks, as demonstrated by the seductive sonic assault of its latest album, “Freak*on*ica.”

The New York-via-Washington, D.C., group lived up to its reputation Wednesday at the Hollywood Athletic Club, crafting an apocalyptic body groove that was more organic than the album’s. Thumping electronic beats, augmented by drummer Alexis Fleisig’s sustained attack, amped up the erotic tension wrought by frontman Scott McCloud’s slashing guitar and the twin-bass assault of Johnny Temple and Eli Janney (who also manned a keyboard).

Although lyrical snippets about sex, the mass media, sex, politics and sex were intriguing, the emotional effect was limited. Veering from aggro exuberance to gothic doom, the songs had just enough variety to fend off tedium, but an hour of this stuff was plenty. Ultimately, the sinuous, driving beat was more memorable than any particular tune.

The band’s allure proved elusive, as well. In spite of McCloud’s come-hither raspy roar, the players did little more than hammer away at their instruments, rarely engaging the crowd except to say thanks.

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