Majesty/EMI Sweden, 2005


REVIEW BY: Chris Harlow


With the ubiquitous "put it all on red" Vegas mentality, Sweden rockers Mustasch are sticking to past formula with the recent recording of Powerhouse, the band's fourth full-length effort.

Calculating a gamble that their past and now present doom-style rock pattern is the way to go, Powerhouse further extends Mustasch's strategy by offering up a slate of tracks that will find them easily confused with any other material the band has previously recorded.

Fortunately though, bassist Mats Johansson shows increased comfort in teaming with rhythm guitarist Hannes Hansson in framing the Powerhouse tracks with a largely plodding chord structure that give lead guitarist and vocalist Ralf Gyllenhammar free reign to bang out the requisite hooks to surround vocals, likened to what a perturbed Glenn Danzig would be expected to deliver.

So, chapter four of Mustasch's tried-and-true style yields a few fresh hits such as "Accident Blackspot," a song summarizing a tempestuous counseling session about one revisiting a selfishly single-minded focus on life. Make no mistake -- Gyllenhammar sinisterly advises that this is not a love song but rather a song about fear. Convincingly, I'd say that there are some pretty heady lyrics to be found on this track, which serve to set up the following gritty storyline about relationships that surely will cater to men of all ages.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

"Dogwash," the first single from Powerhouse, laments a guy's lower class standing in the chase for romance with the catchy "I'm a dog and I feel dirty" chorus. This is truly a song with a simple mission statement and one catchy-as-hell chorus. Listening to this track, one will quickly sympathize that there need be no shame in swimming in the gutter of love until perhaps the second single from the album kicks in with the stately title, "I Lied."

In this song, Gyllenhammar turns an early seductive vocal plea into a rather rigid fist pumper based on the laurels of a failed love affair. Maybe Gyllenhammar sounds so convincing because he's figured out that gutter flow eventually leads to the sewer?

Defiantly, the Powerhouse song trilogy concludes with "I'm Alright," an emotional gearshift of assurance that has Gyllenhammar coming to grips with the demons that have previously flamed the heat on his subject's burning heart. The topic of love has always been a basic tenet of rock n' roll but rarely has it been covered from beginning to end with such convincing authority.

From a production standpoint, I'm going to have to yet again call Mustasch's label EMI out as I've done in the past for putting their funky copy control sealant on Powerhouse which randomizes the track order on my computer's RealPlayer at the same time it creates an annoying -- every 90 second -- skip, in song action.

Back to the topic. I'm beginning to liken Mustasch's career musical approach to a slow-burn effort in evolution. Past fans are going to embrace this album for delivering familiar goods while those that have already passed judgment on the band won't find anything on Powerhouse to win them over -- leaving only the uninitiated to jump on board. Bands like AC/DC have obviously figured out how to make this strategy work, of course, which is proof that such critique should be taken within certain context.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2005 Chris Harlow 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 Majesty/EMI Sweden, and is used for informational purposes only.