The Masticators: Masticate

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By David Fufkin

"Hocus/Pocus" by Focus? "Frankenstein" ? thinks this reviewer as the leadoff track teases me. Then, WOW. Music fans rarely have a chance to own collectors' items, and this is destined to be one.

This is the real deal.

If there is anyone with ears out there, combined with the money and influence to put this band into the mainstream spotlight, like Clive Davis, PLEASE read this. Touch your thumbs together, raise your arms, point your forefingers to the ceiling in a frame, look through the frame and say this: Springsteen, Aerosmith and The Masticators. Seriously, Clive, listen to me, get Jon Brion, put them into Ocean Way, and have Bob Ludwig master this project. Let me try to get this exactly right. The one sentence description is this: if a band had a frontperson who sounded like a combined Ronnie Spector, Sheryl Crow and Tracy Ullman and had a look that was sexy without insulting women; if a band could write songs of any pop variety and rock as hard as great bands such as The Pretenders, The Who, and Cheap Trick but had the taste and style of a late ‘70s Linda Ronstadt or rockin’ Sheryl Crow; if the band had a killer live show; if the band had the whole package, AND could save rock ‘n’ roll from Boy Bands and Celine Dion, this would be The Masticators.

Here’s a Blow by Blow track description: 1. Intro - see above. 2. Now That You’re Gone - if early Jam-era Paul Weller wrote a song for Martha and The Muffins but the song was better, here it is. 3. The One I Wanna Love - if Paul McCartney decided to write a song for a female artist like “They Don’t Know,” this might be “the one.” 4. Radio Police - reminds me of the seminal band The Nerves (this is very, very good) who were responsible for the Blondie hit “Hangin’ on the Telephone” 5. He’s the One - an example of Mychols’ mastery of a variety of styles by using a reggae flavor without losing energy. What the new Blondie CD could have sounded like. A radio song. 6. Help Me Dream - pretty, like Mychols. Intimate. A nice breather song. Nice sequencing, a lost art. 7. Never Try - if you played this song for Elvis Costello, he would want to write a song with her. Chorus is astounding. Again, these are real musicians here. 8. Here’s A Boy - reminds of when Sheryl Crow really does it for me. On a major label, this is a big seller. The single. 9. Day to Day - an Aimee Mann feel, another GREAT female artist. 10. He’s Coming Out - a straight ahead pop rocker with melody, and there aren’t a lot of these. The chorus is in my head. 11. Kidnapper Song - rock n roll in a classic no bullschmidt, Pretenders, Pandoras and pre-fame Go-Gos, Bangles kind of way. 12. The Rain - another track showcasing Mychols’ voice - the speakers don’t lie. Beautiful. 13. Uncontrollable Urge - the old Devo song. This selection just highlights how cool this band is.

Final thought. I do not gush in reviews. Ever. Gushing is amateurish, smacks of lack of objectivity and compromises journalistic integrity. But this is easily the best independent release of 2000.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/masticators-masticate/