Electric Sweat

The Mooney Suzuki

Gammon Records, 2002


REVIEW BY: George Agnos


Halelujah! Rock and roll is fun again!

After a decade of angst by alternative and later rap/rock bands, the music known as rock-and-roll has finally loosened up, what with the surprise success of the Strokes, White Stripes and the Hives. Hey, there's nothing wrong with angst up to a point, but after hearing so much alternative rock on the radio, eventually I just wanted them to shut up already and lighten up. And now it looks like I got my wish.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The Mooney Suzuki may not be one of the most popular or even the most original band from this garage rock scene, but for my money, they just may very well be the best. Their second CD is called Electric Sweat, and that is exactly what you get for the ten tracks here.

So what do they sound like? Well, the second track, "In A Young Man's Mind" gives you the answer by namechecking Jimi Hendrix, Pete Townshend, and Jimmy Page. Add to that later garage bands like the MC5 and Stooges, and right there you've got The Mooney Suzuki. The singer, Sammy James Junior, even sounds very much like Hendrix.

Because of the vocal similarities, Electric Sweat plays like a Hendrix album if he had eliminated the experimentation and just made an album of scorching rockers. So, if you love the Hendrix song, "Fire", this CD will probably put a smile on your face.

But to say that all the songs sound like "Fire" would be a mistake. Yes, there are plenty of scorching rockers, but The Mooney Suzuki do vary the tempos. "Oh Sweet Susanna" and "Natural Fact" are midtempo rockers, and there is even a slow ballad included called "The Broken Heart". Hey, every party needs a slow dance, right?

Most of the songs on Electric Sweat are short, rocking pieces, but The Mooney Suzuki do manage to show some instrumental chops without going overboard. "It's Not Easy" is one of only two songs over four minutes, and that's because there's a tasty guitar break. And there are even two instrumentals: "Electrocuted Blues" has a guitar frenzy that would make Hendrix proud, while "It's Showtime Pt II" is a throwback to sixties r&b, including a nifty organ solo.

I would have liked this CD to make at least some concession to modern rock, but despite the stubbornly retro attitude, The Mooney Suzuki do deliver the goods as this is a very fun listen. If you want angst, go somewhere else. Otherwise, get this CD and make sure to play it loud.

Rating: B+

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© 2002 George Agnos and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Gammon Records, and is used for informational purposes only.