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The Rosenbergs
Mission: You
Discipline Global Mobile


I wanted to write this review as if I was just unwrapping an album for my first listen--The Rosenbergsí Mission: (pregnant pause) You. I wanted to re-live that excitement of the first time I bought vinyl, a Monkees album as I remember. My sister and I "pooled our resources" and bought The Monkees for all of what I remember to be a buck 2-fitty...so excited, dancing in front of the mirror, spinning sans control, hella air guitar, Townsend-esque jumping - turn up the volume!

This powerful, naive spontaneity is what makes this disk special. You canít really stop it Ė itís just too damn much fun! This N.Y. quartet is comprised of David Fagan (lead vocals, guitar), Evan Silverman (bass, vocals), Joe Mahoney (lead guitar, vocals) and Joe ĎZeckleí Darone (drums, percussion and vocals). They found themselves in the middle of the recent Echo and the Bunnymen tour gaining more recognition with each passing tour date.

The album is fun from beginning to end. The pop sense on this one makes these Rosenbergs look like young Einsteins. Tasty tunes that sound best at volume ten with high vocal backgrounds added by you. You can sing along, dance along, and cruise down the highway without a care... ah... "Sometimes I feel like a mouse on a wheel."

Not to compare them to the Monkees, because their sound can only be described as fresh; interesting in the mere fact that they stand out so distinctly in a growing world of "pop aggressive" music. There are plenty of bands that have "the sound"; itís just that the Rosenbergs have mastered it.

"Donít just sit there, sucking on a plum. Little baby talk to me, Iíll show you Iím not dumb." The band takes off into a slice of pop heaven with "Sucking On A Plum" to start the CD. "Paper and Plastic" follows with sad, laughable relationship commentary: "Itís too late baby, youíre bending and youíre breaking me, Iím not made of elastic. Spend my money, she wants another surgery. Sheís all paper and plastic." On stage, Fagan shrugs off any emotional attachment with a sideways glance and an eye roll. This unaffected musical review of past pain is vintage Rosenbergs. Itís as if they think they can rock and roll their way to mental and emotional health, just by singing about it!

That's the great thing about power pop. The good stuff, while being witty, relate-able, and sensible, has to have an edge to push off from. And these Rosenbergs have that edge while retaining their nonchalant innocence. "I hate myself now, looks like youíve drawn me in, a new deceiver, pulling the strings again." In "Little Lie", the band establishes their brilliant mix of vocal immediacy and vicious guitar licks. Who needs therapy?

Each track on Mission: You, grabs you by your lapels and pulls you into their mosh-pit of contagious guitar, slick vocal harmony or slamming bass riffs. Damn, this is like the first time my sister and I danced around the bedroom back on East Larchmont Dr. to Davy, Mickey, Mike and Peter. You too can lip sync to The Rosenbergs while they ask the musical question in the powerful "In Pursuit." "Which side are you on?" and then proceeds to answer the query: "It donít really matter, if youíre not siding with me." This band wants you to hear them, love them, to have fun, put the top down, and get some sand in your pants!

On "Houseboat", Fagin and friends blend some of the most textured vocal walls of hard candy on the album. "But I will compromise, and sell you my soul, I will compromise, if you ease up, or Iíll freeze up, would you show me what to do?"

"Fast Asleep" goes full throttle with a Beach Boys shake. "Girls in the sun, as in the sand. Beach blanket seagulls, the boys in the band." It continues itís journey inside a car, and the moon, in "After All", resplendent with cool keyboard effects as it bounces its way into the penultimate "Soaked In Polyester", a delightful pop classic with itís "da, do, doís" and itís ingenious "Iíll be coming for you, Iíll be soaked in polyester. You will melt from the touch of my physical attraction, suffering succotash, treated like I was Sylvester, in the sound of the way to go." If you actually donít get up and yell "da, do, do" in unison with this brilliant intro/bridge, you must be dead. A pop anthem at the least. This is one powerful pop gem from a band that has only just begun to tap its potential and powerful stage act. (As long as they survive their death defying 12 foot amp leap at the end of each show.)

To end this witty, dynamite charged collection, "Overboard" takes a decidedly strong and understated turn, (after running us around the room with an air guitar for the better part of 37 minutes) in itís seven plus minute finale: "Maybe I was just your novelty. Openíem wide, Iím overboard. You decide a way you want to be. I was listing all the ways to fail you, I told you I would be the one to burn".

OK, Iíll answer this one. NO, this is no novelty act. The Rosenbergs are here to stay.

"Did you get your kicks already?"

Oh yeah...!

OSCAR

Track Listing:

  1. Sucking On A Plum
  2. Paper and Plastic
  3. A Little Lie
  4. In Pursuit
  5. Secret
  6. Houseboat
  7. Drug Of Choice
  8. Fast Asleep
  9. After All
  10. Soaked In Polyester
  11. Overboard

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Mike Doughty



Pink Floyd

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