Recording information: The Peppermint Lounge (02/25/1983/02/26/1983).
Initially released as a six-track live EP in 1983, the re-issue of SMELL OF FEMALE contains three bonus songs. Opening with a stunning rendition of "The Most Exalted Potentate of Love," this set presents the Cramps in all of their sleazy glory. The guitar interplay of Poison Ivy and Kid Congo Powers, along with Lux Interior's cheerfully sneering vocals and Nick Knox's relentlessly pounding drumming, elevates these songs far from the world of novelty into which they could easily have sunk.
Ivy's searing lead guitar is the highlight of "You've Got Good Taste," which is dedicated to "all you Gucci bag carrier's out there." "Psychotic Reaction" features a wicked, high-speed harmonica solo set against scale-climbing guitars. Among the added bonus tracks are a version of the extremely obnoxious "She Said," with very different, and apparently improvised, spoken-word verses, and "Surfin' Dead," a slow-tempo twist, recorded in the studio, with heavily echoed guitars. The latter contains a prime example of Cramps-style double entendres (along with a borrowed lyric from "New Kind of Kick," an early track by the band). If you want to know what the Cramps sound like live, this collection is for you.
Entertainment Weekly (10/14/94, p.60) - "...It's strange to find the Cramps on CD; vinyl seems more in tune with their dirty, disposable aesthetic. But it's still fun to hear FEMALE...their mid-'80s best..." - Rating: A-