MYSTERY GIRLS - The Mystery Girls (Trick Knee Productions)
Had Green Bay, Wisconsin youngsters The Mystery Girls formed in Los Angeles or New York City, their energetic 60s garage punk inspired music, might have reached the world sooner.
The Mystery Girls, a five piece group whose eldest band member is still under the age of twenty, draw upon influences including 60s garage groups The Seeds, The Sonics and The Standells, but also The New York Dolls (not surprisingly though), early Rolling Stones and little known Canadians The Von Zippers.
Their self-titled debut CD features ten original compositions and is a result of five years of playing throughout the Mid Western and Southern states of the US.
The band is Casey Grajek on vocals and harmonica; Jordan Davis and Matt Conger on guitars and vocals; Peter Pearson on bass and organ and drummer James Kipp. Their disc opens with 'Finger on the Grain' and is wild, energetic 60s garage punk and almost instantly also brings to mind Australian 60s garage punk bands (the now departed) Crusaders and Hunchbacks. With highly effective use of harmonica thrown in, it appears there could be no other choice to open the CD.
Track 4 is probably one of the early highlights of the CD and is a medley of the songs "Wild One" (not Johnny O' Keefe's big hit) and "Tin Star".
Vocalist Casey Grajek raw approach is applied slightly differently, with the rhythm section at their rampaging, energetic and dynamic best. As both guitarists appear to be the kind of guitar combo in the mould of Johnny Thunders and Syl Sylvain, with wild, enthusiastic guitar playing and probably as crazy guitar moves.
'Sorry Little Girl' follows and probably brings to mind Melbourne's Driveway Service with its souped up, jingle jangle and more killer harmonica.
"Green Machine" is up next and for some listeners this tune and its droning constant backbeat and organ might remind listeners of Australia's 60s legends The Loved Ones' "More Than Love".
"Musty Shade of Brown" features more highly effective organ as the rhythm section keeps pounding the beat into the ground, but like the rest of the band prove flexible, as mid-song the pace is brought back and then pushed forward as hard as it can.
The CD closes with "Children in the Sun" and is a slight departure in terms of energetic performance, but allows the band to show its grasp of musical dynamics.
The Mystery Girls and their self-titled debut CDLP are probably (for this reviewer) the biggest surprise packet of the year and have mightily impressed. - Simon Li
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