50 Mission Crush

Texas Platters

Phases & Stages

50 Mission Crush

Beginning to Unwind Ostensibly named for battle-weary WWII fighter pilots, 50 Mission Crush's 1998 self-titled debut and following Come Back EP earned the Austin quartet radio play, with "My Girl" showing up on an installment of KLBJ's Local Licks Live. Influenced by the Stones and early Van Halen, the dual nature of their current offering's title -- is it unwind to relax, or unwind to let loose? -- reflects their dual goal of aiming for the accessible end of the rock spectrum while keeping heavy energy to the fore. The results, 11 tunes clocking in at just over a half-hour, are dual too. In their brevity, 50 MC thankfully eschews wanky solos, but Beginning to Unwind could use more compelling transitions and bridges. Kudos to the band for self-production, yet advice from an outside ear would have helped too, like when to make songs longer ("Plastic Life," "Last I'd Save"), and when to edit ("Let It Out" and "Sugar Shoes"). Still, the riffalicious "All Gone" should find its way onto KLBJ's standard rotation. That said, while the band knows and respects its influences, 50 Mission Crush hasn't broken from their gravity. Influential bands leave a mark for originality, not within a genre, but in helping forge a new one. This sophomore release proves 50 MC are rock ready. Now they have to find their own voice.

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