Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Mugwumps- "Can't Be The One"

The single aspect that made last year such an exciting one for punk rock was watching the return of bands that seemed to be long gone!! That alone had me on could nine and for the first time in years, I felt a greater hope for our little universe that can sometimes seem to be disintegrating. It can get a little depressing to look back on years that were so much more vibrant compared to now BUT, if there is even one glimmer of hope, I will be right here to hold it up high and make sure it is heard! The Mugwumps of course held a big role in my utter happiness for 2014 and while it was beautiful to see them return, it was phenomenal to know that they wouldn't be going anywhere, anytime soon. In conversations with Chris Mug right around the release of "Mutation In The Family", he had let me know that another batch of songs were ready to go for a second new record, so I waited. Like Riff Randell with little hearts in my eyes I waited for any news from my most favorite Austrian boys... At the start of the year they announced that the new songs were being mixed but as we all know how the overwhelmed pressing plants creep along at a snail's pace these days, the wait was not over just yet! With a little patience and ten Hail Dee Dee's said per night, I am so happy to say that the moment has arrived for "Can't Be The One" to be revealed, and I am beyond honored to be the first person to review it.

The songs were recorded during November of 2014 at the The Weirdo Garage in Innsbruck, AT by Matthias Magerle and Matthias Mayr. After that process was finished, the tracks were sent over to a favorite of mine in the recording industry who is none other than Bruno Barcella at T.U.P. Studio in Brescia, IT to be mixed at his fortress of analog brilliance, then Justin Perkins took things over from there to do the mastering he always does such a lovely job with at the Mystery Room in Milwaukee, WI. I must say these two made a fine pair in finishing the process because the sound is fantastic! The artwork/layout that was put together by Mario O. Eberharter includes photos of the band taken by Max Raggl who did a great job capturing their fun personality and then some drawings by Chris Mug. I always love his little creatures so much! This time he made a mummy that also makes an appearance on a poster that comes with the record too! Monster Zero Records once again shows their fabulous taste in music by making "Can't Be The One" available on your choice of CD or LP. The vinyl comes in black or a limited yellow and as always, yes, it will include a download code! You can buy digital only and stream the album in full over at The Mugwumps bandcamp page that also has their full discography available for streaming or purchase. The fine people of Striped Music will also be carrying both formats of the album in their distro soon and to mark the occasion, have made a very cool exclusive t-shirt designed by Manuel Manges that ties into one the songs! Make sure to check that out. I really love it.   

Chris, Hank, and Andy gave us a first look at "Can't Be The One" by making a video(click here to see it!) for the first track called "Peek-A-Boo/The Hate Monger" which had me shrieking with delight right away due to it's very Head style approach(think "Love Theme Of Head/The Tribulations Of Chinaman)! The first part is over in 35 seconds, then with a millisecond pause they launch straight back into a lightening fast speed for the second part. The lyrics are campy and fun describing an evil clone attempting to take over the world, showing in no time at all exactly why I love this band so much. While it's true that lots of people can pick up instruments and go for the minimal approach, it takes true talent to turn it to genius and THAT, my friends, is exactly what The Mugwumps do! Never disappointing with a variety of tempos, things slow down in the next track, "Tokyo Tapes", holding an extremely beautiful melody made it an instant favorite of mine. These twelve songs keep moving with so much energy and different themes too! "Iron Moon" veers off into a more sci-fi type direction, telling the story of runaway nazis hiding on the other side of the moon, "King Mastadon" is very playful and really illustrates what it could be like to discover one, then "Fin Fang Foom!" adds in a comic book monster set to a slower tempo. Let's recap all this. So far we have: an evil clone, nazis from space, a mastadon, a monster, and yes, I am smiling from ear to ear because someone remembered punk rock can be fun! I'm so glad these guys aren't afraid to show it and while a lot of the content on this record is as exciting as Kung Fury, I was also of course a total sucker for the love songs Chris does such an incredible job composing. "Can't Be The One", a great kind of scared of love song is perfectly full of 1950's charm but my most favorite is "The Way I Do". This is the one that had a girl getting teary eyed like a dummy(me haha) because it's that beautiful. The lyrics are so poetic to a point where you can really see the story through his perspective and the emotion in his voice is just goosebump inducing. It could have been a Dee Dee Ramone song and I truly think it's one of the best he has ever written. But the surprises keep coming! When details started being announced for this record, I had saw that an all time favorite punk rocker of mine would be doing some guest vocals but I didn't ask on which song before I heard it! I didn't ask because I know the voice of Andrea Manges as well as my own heartbeat and there he was, singing the last part in "Chinatown". The song is really cool with a strong element of danger and I think it was perfect to include Andrea in it because he is always able to give off that badass vibe with such great ease! So yeah, that one is another favorite and I guess I'll just go ahead and say that's my feeling for all twelve songs going into the closer, "Teardrop/C.B.T.O." a hybrid of two different songs that works so well starting with heartbreak but ending in an ode to being a misfit in life. Which is something I can more than relate to!

It's amazing to think about everything The Mugwumps have accomplished since their start in 2002. They've never had a moment that I haven't felt anything but admiration for and with that being said, I honestly feel "Can't Be The One" is their best work to date. Make sure to get on ordering this record from MZ or Striped because once it's gone, you'll be bummed to not own one of the best punk rock records made in the last ten years. They're playing this evening in Bergamo, Italy for the Monster Zero Summer Mash so make sure to go catch their set if you're nearby and if you're not able to make it, there's still a couple more exciting things coming from them! Very soon, they'll be making an appearance on a six way split from Rufus Recordings and then something else with One Chord Wonder Records which I won't say too much about since it's not been announced yet, but you will definitely be into it! Promise. Go like their facebook page if you haven't yet to stay tuned for what's next as always and in closing I'd like to say: Thank you Mugwumps for giving me such a big reason to smile with this amazing record. Punk rock has a chance when people like you are around.

The Mugwumps are...
Chris Mug- Guitar and Vocals 
Hank Hollywood- Bass 
Andy Hectic- Drums 

With guest vocals by Andrea Manges on "Chinatown" and additional backups by Matthias Mayr.

All songs written by Chris Mug.

Side A
1. Peek-A-Boo/The Hate Monger
2. Tokyo Tapes
3. Iron Moon
4. Can't Be The One
5. The Way I Do
6. Dyna-Mite
Side B
7. King Mastadon
8. Fin Fang Foom!
9. Cast A Spell On Me
10. Chinatown
11. If You Wanna
12. Teardrop/C.B.T.O.


  1. impressive review of what on first listen sounds like a great album

    1. Thanks a lot, Mick! :) This is by far my most favorite release of 2015.

  2. Wow, this is easily their best album. Front to back, great. The other albums had one or two terrific standouts, but this one really hit me as an ALBUM