Wednesday, July 30, 2003

My good man Shockk called on the weekend to invite me and the belter out to a solo show he was putting on at the Starry Dynamo. I feel badly that we couldn’t make it due to various factors, because I’ve never seen Shockk solo. The few times I’ve gone to see him, he’s always cancelled and been replaced by the Motorcycle Man. In such situations I usually manage to salvage the evening, and maybe even score a free LP or two during MM’s usual set of audience abuse and ironic irony metal.

So, as a tribute to the Shockker, I wanna talk about a CD he put out recently: White Plastic Deer by Mongoose. On the CD, Mongoose consists of Shockk and RC, and I gather they’ve recruited a couple more players for live shows. I don’t know much about Mr. C except that he’s part of the Roadbed circle of friends that I can never keep track of. If I wanted to keep tabs on them all I’d never find time to feed myself.

Mongoose recorded the album at ye olde Shockk Center by sticking to a “one song per session” work ethic, which I admire and endorse. That doesn’t mean the album sounds like a hastily executed compilation of unformed ideas. It’s a very polished piece of work, in fact. The rapid recording process only energized the songs in a way that a more leisurely approach wouldn’t have.

The 14 songs that Mongoose laid down are short and tight, mostly of the melodic pop/punk variety, says the budding music reviewer. None of them break three minutes, and the album races by in less than 25. You’d never know this was recorded on cassette—it sounds enormous. It’s a tribute to Shockk’s mixing abilities, as well as the ace mastering of JLS.

The straight-edge anthem “Last Party” starts the album and from there on in you’d better pay attention because there are plenty of golden moments to be enjoyed. “Ego Feed” sounds like Superchunk. Shockk’s voice (especially as heard on “Get On”) has always reminded me of Mac’s from that band. “Heet of the Moment” has a very commercial, Fox-rockin’ feel—too much for personal comfort. There’s some all-out speedpunk on “Redtailed Hawk,” which takes some interesting turns during its comparatively epic two and a half minutes. Trumping them all is “Let’s All Go to the Restaurant,” a song so catchy that I laughed out loud the first time I heard it.

I don’t have a problem with the fact that most of the songs are drum-machined, because Shockk is an excellent programmer. His real drumming is spot on as always. He and RC must have had a blast recording this album. I know that whenever I’ve been involved in a project that jelled quickly and produced something over a short period, I’ve always looked back on it as a special time in my life. I hope the Mongoose boys feel the same way, and that they’re proud of what they‘ve done.

Another amazing artifact from another amazing friend.

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