(Here Come the) Mandible (Almost There)
A significant sphere in the Grand Champeen/Gourds/Prescott Curlywolf social orbit, Phillip McEachern's Mandible seesaws between simple (but not simplistic) melodies and spirited (but not spiteful) pound-it-out rock. Plus bong-friendly studio goofs that titles like "Stupid Happy Clown" and "Beelzebub Telephone" suggest. Opener "Gone Out" pairs Springsteen with Tears for Fears, while "Rubber Pants" goes AM radio sunny to tasty Tenacious D jam. "Splinters" punks up Orange Mothers with Rob Bernard's breakneck guitar, and Tim Kinard's trumpet lends a Calexico flavor to "Emerald City Hall." As fed through McEachern's synthesizer, trumpet returns to prog "Walk Through Hell" out on an ELP limb. In other words, and especially at 14 songs in 38 minutes, (Here Come the) Mandible is all over the place. That's most assuredly one of its leading virtues, right with the winsomely oddball songwriting and overall intraband bonhomie.
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