Side One Dummy
There are many faces to rock music, and 22 Jacks is a musical chameleon that changes a shade of color on each and every song. Sometimes they hit you with a sneering punk attitude, and at others they wear the pseudo-pout of an anything-goes glam band. The result is a tight set of songs that are unpredictable and full of intensity.
The catchy On My Way is full-energy power pop with a bluesy rock swagger. Slipping Down begins with a 60s-styled garage rock riff that merges into huge heavy-handed power chords. At times, these guys remind me of Hanoi Rocks, especially in the blues-bar horns of Too Much Time and the no-frills dual guitar rock of Without You, which has one of those silly-phrased bridges that the Hanoi boys were famous for: Mr. Martin, Mr. Jose is everything gonna be OK---Jerome we're all so far from home.
You can't cram these guys into a category, because they cover all the bases too well.
MISH MASH Mandate: Back to Mystery City...
Not only is Tino Derado an excellent musician; he is brilliant. Why? Because he has surrounded himself with other excellent musicians on this stunning release, and the result is a modern jazz masterpiece.
Derado's upbeat piano on the title track moves with wonderful flowing lines of be-bop melody; and he shares the spotlight with the snappy bass of Ben Street and the Coltrane-like sax runs of Billy Drewes. Zayeku has a more melancholy tone with the sad sounds of Satoshi Takeishi's cajon, while Tom Thumb bounces around with disjointed rhythms of the tight trio of Derado, Street, and Takeishi on drums. We get the full latin flavor with the fast-moving Tweaked, which features Derado on the accordion.
Derado proves himself over and over again on each track, and the album carries that initial excitement each time you listen. A must for fans of jazz.
MISH MASH Mandate: Go with the flow
Just when you thought the retro-craze was waning, along comes Vibro-phonic with nouveau psychedelic tunes from 14 contemporary indie artists. So don't put away the lava lamps just yet, 'cause this is one trip you definitely need to take.
The last time I heard the Jigsaw Seen, they were doing a goofy Tommy James-styled British Invasion song called Luci Baines on Del-Fi's Delphonic Sounds Today! (another retro disc; see MISH MASH Issue #6). This time around, their Another Predictable Song has more of an early Who-styled rock edge, with lots of fuzzy guitar work. The Last's Perfect World is a highly repetitive hippy-happy tune that has a slight groove beat driving it along. Ann Magnuson takes on the campy Bowie classic Moonage Daydream, and Tube Top does a super groovy take on Keep It A Secret, a song originally done for Sid & Marty Kroft's Sigmund and the Sea Monsters (man, I loved that show).
What would a retro disc be without surf or bubblegum? The Insect Surfers present a Duane Eddy inspired version of the Bee Gee's Massachusetts, while the sugary Rejected Beer Ad #1 from the Wondermints was actually a jingle rejected by Coors.
Honestly, I like this disc more than I thought I would. The music is fun and each song holds a different surprise.
MISH MASH Mandate: I'm digging you in a groovy kinda way...
Sometimes you just gotta rock, and SOS lays it down in the most no-nonsense way possible. In the spirit of Stone Temple Pilots, SOS just rips into their tunes at full volume with little fanfare.
The opening track, Take It is a great hard rock song with driving drums and big guitars. The guys delve into a cool punk sound with Daisy (Ray's Lazy Day), while Homegrown has a certain late-era Metallica feel about it. There's a more dynamic presence in Gravel, which flip-flops between subtle guitar lines and full-throttle riffs throughout.
Overall, it's a solid piece of work that has something for everyone. Of course, you must play it loud!
MISH MASH Mandate: Rigorous rock
A young band with a young sound (and a name that could be mistaken for a new group of wrestlers), WCF comes across strong with catchy, high-intensity guitar-powered pop.
It almost has a punk feel, yet it has a lot more depth musically. The songs are well-crafted, and each one has a distinct flavor of its own. At one moment, you're getting hammered with the punk riffs of The New Girl, only to be thrown into the mosh pit metal of Meant For You?. The power pop shines through brilliantly on You Waste Me and Social Climber Girl, but the centerpiece of the CD is Kelly. This one has a deep, melancholy sound that has a cool, grooving rhythm.
Young and promising, with time on their side, we're sure to hear some really great stuff from these guys in the future.
MISH MASH Mandate:Young and the restless
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