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
"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
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?"
- Sucking On A Plum
- Paper and Plastic
- A Little Lie
- In Pursuit
- Drug Of Choice
- Fast Asleep
- After All
- Soaked In Polyester
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