[8 July 2009]
If a question mark hangs over the Mystery Girls it’s because this Wisconsin quintet of wiry white (non-effeminate) boys has yet to come out of the garage. Since 2002 they have released two LPs and a handful of singles, yet a Google search on them produces only two relevant results and no recognition from Wikipedia. Perhaps their closeted status hinges on them smelling like a hackneyed bluesy garage rock band destined to play the pub and college circuit forever. Their head-banging, abandoned guitar-riffing, hi-hat-abusing pedestrian angst certainly screams for little else. So does the adolescence of lead singer Casey Grajek’s scratchy threadbare yowls. But their third effort Incontinopia starts off well enough. It is opened by an anodyne ice-cream-truck intro, which scratches into “Oh! Apollo”, a pleasant piece of jangle pop that sounds like it’s been baked under the Californian sun with the Byrds standing watch. Grajek’s reverb-tinged register is then put to good use in “The Magic Is Gone” as he wails and quivers listlessly over a bed of bluesy organ riffs. Unfortunately this middling mash-up of retro rock descends into an aimless smash-up-your-guitar orgy, a sonic rump of what could only be an alcoholic binge. Perhaps the garage is where the Girls belong after all.