For the Mooney Suzuki, everywhere‘s Motor City

THE MOONEY SUZUKIElectric Sweat (Gammon)

Who are the Mooney Suzuki? Four New Yorkers whose love of Detroit is beyond the normally accepted boundaries of Motor City fandom: starry-eyed acolytes of Grand Funk cover art and hyperdriven Mitch Ryder roots R&B who espouse, most of all, a near-slavish devotion to the MC5. So crazy over the sons o’ Sinclair are these lads that they even ventured out of their hometown, a place where topflight studios are as thick as fruit stands, and actually tracked this disc, their second, in Michigan. That‘s dedication to form.

As is the music. Not only do Suzuki co-opt the 5’s rev-it-up-and-go in a manner that would leave our regional MC5 freaks like the BellRays or Streetwalkin‘ Cheetahs breathless in admiration, Electric Sweat is even engineered like the founding fathers’ discs, with the vocals harsh and buried like St. Robin Tyner‘s and the guitars scraping and overdriven and the cymbals splashing madly. TMS are enormously adept at monster choruses and rippling hooks: These are generally appropriated from either the source itself (”In a Young Man’s Mind“ is built upon the ”Kick Out the Jams“ lick) or similar ones (the title cut is a sideways take on the Stooges‘ ”Loose“), but the guys are learning and earning points along the way, for the chipper Southern-rock intro on the amped-out hoedown ”Oh Sweet Susanna“ and for the CD’s pinnacle, a loony instrumental titled ”It‘s Showtime Pt II,“ which is either ”Wooly Bully“ on speed or a Jimmy-Smith-smacking-his-forehead-against-a-B-3-keyboard thing — either way, it demands endless replay.

Upbeat, tuneful and unburdened by a wasted cut, a shoe-gazing moment or a free-jazz interpolation (which would have really completed the tribute), the Mooney Suzuki are vastly superior to run-of-the-mill garage fare. And if this disc is but a primer for a live show, they’re an absolute must to see.

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