Sunday, November 28, 2004

The Mutts
"The Mutts" EP
Fat Cat Records

I'm trying to put my finger on it, but I can't quite figure which recent "rock and roll" band The Mutts most closely resemble. I am leaning toward The White Stripes/Black Keys way of thinking, but I still get a big Libertines feeling from them. I don't even know what the difference is anymore, to be honest. In any case, despite the dirty guitar hooks, and their popping personality The Mutts really fail to distinguish themselves in any real way on their new self titled EP.

The album's first track, "Blasted" opens strong enough with a fuzzy baseline bringing to mind the rough styling of an MC5 or an Iggy Pop, and trails along with an inviting gallop beat before settling into the album's mainstay, which is the obvious post-punk approach. Though, one must point out that The Mutts are also big on the straight-ahead "no bullshit" rock and roll as well, which is to be expected. I cannot stress enough that any sign of actual personality that one may pick up from this EP, is coming from frontman Chris Murtagh. He just oozes this sort of aura that screams for you to see the band live, as that may be the only way to truly appreciate them.

One high point on the EP is the track, "Shark", a single currently gaining popularity in the U.S. It is a perfectly acceptable rock track that has that driving pop mindset making it surprisingly catchy seeing as it doesn't really have a memorable chorus or hooks in the traditional sense. However, the other tracks on the six song EP mostly just drag along with no real focus or purpose, for that matter. The Mutts give us no reason to care, or to look past the stereotypes that now obviously exist within the genre. They give me no reason NOT to compare them to other, more successful bands like The White Stripes or The Libertines. Otherwise, I certainly wouldn't utilize such a lazy tactic. At least I hope not....but, I digress.

The most compelling factor while listening the EP is the zeal in which it is all carried out in. That's one of the things that is so fun about this sort of music. Most of the time, hit or miss, it leaves you feeling like you were just at some sort of party. Not some Frat party where they were playing Quarters and listening to Korn all night, but something more along the lines of your ACTUAL life. It is a very relatable sound, and The Mutts are successful in that aspect. For that I can applaud them.

However, The Mutts ultimately fail here in that there is no real entry portal for the listener. "Shark" is good enough track, but there is nothing on this EP that can serve as an adequate definition of the bands personality, and you are basically left with six Rock and Roll tracks that have no clue as to why they are sitting next to each other.

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