Mostly Coats - Hung Up
Record Label: self-released
Release date: March 08, 2011
I'll admit it: When I was assigned the task of reviewing a completely unknown band, I was a little anxious as to what it would turn out to be like. I could have rejected it, and would end up afraid of listening to other local bands. I have a hard time with them, for no real reason. But as the first swinging riff of opener "The Innocence" flew through my eardrums, that anxiety went away as quickly as it struck me.
The aforementioned tune is a dance-rock throwback to the sixties, with a drumming work that looks ready to get you off your feet while blurting out "Don't come crying to me / Oh, I've got better places to be", the first verses of a venom-filled chorus. There might be some clapping too, mind you. "The Innocence" is the most upbeat song on the record, and that becomes even more noticeable when follow-ups "Agoraphobic Home Makeover", a slow, melodramatic number of sorts with nicely contrasting male and female voices, and blues-driven "Movement" kick in.
The guitar work on Hung Up showcases versatility, laying some original experimenting over the pop-rock essence of the album. Fourth track "Living on the Faultline" is the standout: It's a fast, straight-rock hit to your face, on the reocurring theme of relationship issues. It is also the catchiest, most accessible song on the record, and provides a headstucking riff.
While hitting hard on some fronts, the band relies heavily on acoustic, slower songs. The contrast works out nicely, even though one can certainly see similarities within most of the record. It only swings out of its overall direction for the last two songs: "Tattoos" is a successful attempt on crafting an enjoyable lighter, simpler solo tune, and "South Jersey Doesn't Fist Pump" is some sort of critical mockery of some well-known Top 40 hits. The downpoint is that, while funny and catchy, it feels completely out of place. The synths and beats just feel awkward on a closer to a rock and acoustic-driven record.
While being a very new band, formed a little over a year ago, Mostly Coats is a band that is not afraid to try. While it seems quite a simple compliment, it is something we don't see very often nowadays. Bands sticking to their tried-and-true formula have a hard time expanding their fanbase and are often criticized for being 'too safe'. That is something we most certainly will not fear about these very, very welcome dudes.
Considering my advanced, long-in-the-tooth age, I love this album. Although they did things a bit backwards (JP recording the album and THEN looking for the band), it worked out well for them. He has picked up a talented, inspired bunch of guys with the same passion for music as he has. I love the fact that I don't have the urge to push the button to get to the next track. I love the entire thing! South Jersey Doesn't Fist Pump may be a bit quirky on this album, but it does make me laugh. The first time I heard Five Days, JP had just written it and ran over to let me have a listen. It frankly gave me chills.
These guys have what it takes to make it and all of us down here in JP's home area wish them the best of luck (and a seat at the Grammy's someday!).