Sunday, March 22, 2009

February Gems: RPM 09 finds Part 3

Mopey Mumble Mouse are local favorites of mine and RPM veterans. This year they came out with there latest 37 minute weirdness odyssey "The Wrath of Least Persistence" and it's by far their best album yet. The tracks alternate between extended jam outs to short bouts of apocalyptica. All the members take over on songwriting and frontman responsibilities so it's more of a mixed bag then last years, at the same time they come across as more of an actual band in this years album with Steve Ailward's drumming totally replacing all traces of drum machine. The bands gleeful shambolicness is well presented and the voices are much better mixed this time. Each member has at least one classic track on this album; Curtis Kilfoy's vocal performance on "Forever and Ever, Amen" is exemplary and cathartic and Tom Davis gets his tender piano ballad "Grey Afternoon" that really delivers the Syd Barrett fractured pop sensibility and is the best showcase I've heard yet for Tom's fragile tragic voice. Bart Peirson (who graces one of the funniest back cover photos I've seen in a long time) gets the rock classic we all knew he was capable of in "Vicious Circle" which drips in classic Elevator to Hell/Sabbath riffage and thunder. The Album ends in glorious cascades of spastic audio fuckery in "Hey. Kids." that satisfies in many ways. Good stuff.

Justin Guzzwell is a piano rocker from out Gander way that I'm familiar with through all my strange experiences with Gander musicians. Justin is one of the most intense performers I've ever seen with just an electric piano and drummer. Sometimes the intensity is too much for the little clubs he plays at, but it's just perfect for the RPM challenge. His album "Crooked Roots" is a dynamic avant pop piano stomper that showcases a stylistic vareity that I found a bit absent from his live show. The Creative side of Guzzwell is well on display in songs like the proggy "Mornings that Shake Me" the groovy trip hop of "Transparent Profile" and plan trippy "The Empty Quarter" and his high energy ivory punisher "Georgetown Express". Pop hooks abound in the tracks "Bossman" and "Dependable" and album closer "Drink Tank" is the proper dosage of reighteous bludgeoning a body needs. The Mastering is unfortunately a little fuzzy and muffled on my copy of the CD (it is all done in a month, somethings can't be helped especially when it's your first album) but the mixing is actually quite full and sometimes the buzzy mastering benefits the rawness of Guzzwell's vocals and piano stabs. A very interesting and hypnotic little disc.

Local indie rockers The Troubletones took February to craft their reverb drenched second full length album "Run, Play, Mate". If you make the effort to look past that hideous album cover you should appreciate it's classic fun 60's garage pop feel, what with the handclaps, tamborines, catchy guitar hooks and very liberal use of cavernous reverb applied throughout. It rare to see a rpm album nail the Phil Spector wall of sound aesthetic as well as these guys. Although their band bio seems to be written from the embarrassingly overblown school of Patrick Molloy bios. I like the simple sensibility of their pop hooks and they know how to be grandiose without being pompous and showy. Anyway, I should try to make an effort to see them live next time they do a show.