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Issue #41 April 2002

Clare Fader
The Elephant's Baby
(Click Here)

Flogging Molly
The Slow Wire

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Flogging Molly
Drunken Lullabies

SideOneDummy Records
12 song CD

Flogging Molly made their mark in the punk world with their debut Swagger, which cleverly turned traditionally-styled Irish folk music into mosh pit fodder. On their latest disc, Drunken Lullabies, they continue the bar brawl with a little more emphasis on melody, yet make no mistake, the punches hit harder than ever.

If anything, the songwriting has improved greatly since their debut. The title track is tight and precise, delivered like a band who has been playing together live night after night, honing their sound to have maximum impact. What's Left of the Flag begins as a slow ballad, only to kick in with fast and driving fury that grants no mercy. A bitter sense of humor pervades If I Ever Leave This World Alive, creeping through the melancholy introduction with a bite that only grows more ferocious as the song progresses and builds in intensity.

The crazy mix of loud crunchy guitars with accordion, mandolin, fiddle, and tin whistles seem so natural, it is downright surprising when you hear it for the first time. If there's a formula for this stuff, these guys (and gal) have the patent on it.

MISH MASH Mandate: Irish Spring

SideOneDummy Records Website

The Slow Wire

Ambiguous City Records
13 song CD

The Slow Wire specializes in music that goes nowhere and takes its time doing it. It's a classic slacker rock mentality which finds its beauty in droning guitars and mumbled vocals, reviving the indelible elements of vintage indie rock. The resulting effect is a meandering slow-burn which creeps along in sticky fashion, somehow becoming catchy and familiar without being particularly memorable.

The dynamics of Crossed Wires revolve around a quiet clock-like rhythm and a blistering chorus riff, while Medicine leans on a descending chord progression pattern with its roots in power pop. Herky jerky rhythms help Badweather Friend bounce along in dejected abandon, albeit in smooth slow-motion. Dissonance is king in the title track, the band opting for a more aggressive beat with straight-ahead momentum. This track serves as a pivot point, raw angst sandwiched in between the lazy haze that permeates the rest of the album.

MISH MASH Mandate: Fuzzy Logic

Ambiguous City Records Website

The Power of Pop

Shut Eye Records
11 song CD

As the title would suggest, there is quite a bit of power in this pop. Hailing from the pseudo-Southern city of Atlanta, Nillah puts a sweet twist on indie guitar rock with sugary melodies and the creamy vocals of bassist Elisabeth Eickhoff. While the music is grounded in solid rock, Eickhoff manages to dominate the picture with her pixie-ish voice, keeping the disc flowing with effervescence.

There's a hint of R.E.M. in the jangly guitars and vocal harmonies of Deep Ocean Blue, which then gives way to the country-flavored strumming of Don't Hesitate. Cool guitar runs set the mood over the heavy-handed beats of I'll Have You Anytime, where Eickhoff displays plenty of her best sassy moves.

This one is just plain fun, a real treat with a cherry on top---just in time for summer.

MISH MASH Mandate: Nillah Wafers

Nillah Website

Water On Mars

11 song CD

The music of Overflower drifts and spins like a slow moving night mist, generating a deep and dark sound which uses dynamic contrasts to evoke powerful moods. Vocalist Marc Bouchard is unassuming and dissonant, adding yet another layer of noise to the overall picture. His voice carries across in the mid-range like another guitar, where the lyrics become almost secondhand and hard to decipher. The band tumbles through song after song, leaving behind a strange and beautiful melancholy in its wake. The effect relies more upon the disc as a whole rather than individual songs, leaving the listener with a true sense of experience.

MISH MASH Mandate: Flowing Flower

E-mail Overflower

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