Friday, January 30, 2009

The Mooney Suzuki - Electric Sweat

This band burst out of New York in the late 90’s with a wild mix of Detroit rock, r’n’b, soul and hi-energy garage r’n’r. They are not 100% consistent, and their lyrics can at times be downright silly, but overall they have a great sound that gets ya movin’ and shakin’!

The title cuts bursts out with tons of flailing guitars – the lead player (Graham Tyler) is truly awesome - and insane energy. This moves into the fast and furious r’n’b of “In a Young Man’s Mind”, which could be heard on TV commercials a couple of years ago. With more than a nod to the Flamin’ Groovies comes the acoustic “Oh, Sweet Suzanna” that keeps a rockin’ beat movin’ throughout.

“A Little Bit of Love” is a high-speed bit of psych-pop with layers and layers of guitars that sounds as if it could have come off of the Wild in the Streets soundtrack. Power chords dominate “It’s Not Easy” and this is another well written tune with truly interesting musical and vocal sections. Tyler’s guitar is insanely over-driven to the point of madness, which makes it pretty damn beautiful to me!

Reminiscent of a number of different 60’s tunes – right down to the fuzz guitar – is “Natural Fact”. I can’t place anything right now, but it makes you think that you’ve heard this song before even on the first listen! They throw in a Hammond B3 for the instrumental “It’s Showtime Pt II”, making it sound like a modern cop from the MG’s, until they get downright silly with a kazoo solo! The ending is pure Fleshtones, circa “Hexbreaker”. Now that I think about it, these cats are generally a more hard-edged version of the “tones. The same r’n’b/party vibe but with noisier guitars.

An insistent stompin’ beat drives “I Woke Up This Mornin’”, givin’ it a feel like the Dave Clark Five on speed. The words are a little trite, but ya still can’t help singing along with the catchy group chorus. Their r’n’b ballad is “The Broken Heart”, with a early 60’s feel and sound. Singer Sammy James, Jr. does he best to sound sincere, but he always seems to be a little ironic or something, like this might all be a character. But they needed to end on a high, fast and loud note with the riffin’ “Electrocuted Blues”, a cacophonous and chaotic blues jam.

All in all, a rockin’ effort and a good mix of Detroit-styled energy and 60’s garage/r’n’b. Their releases vary in quality but they are all worth a listen!