Album: The Mooney Suzuki

Alive & Amplified, COLUMBIA
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The Independent Culture

Had The Mooney Suzuki delivered, with this debut album, half of what their namesakes Malcolm Mooney and Damo Suzuki achieved as vocalists with the Krautrock legends Can, the world would be a little richer. Alas, the band's name is a misnomer, Alive & Amplified being bereft of the questing sonic adventurism that was Can's stock-in-trade. Instead, they appear to be the latest of New York's legions of tribute bands, following The Strokes' garage-punk homage and Scissor Sisters' Seventies AOR homage with their own to the tarnished Spandex-metal of such Eighties poodle-haired outfits as Poison and Motley Crue. Which is a less entertaining prospect than either The Strokes or Scissor Sisters, and quite probably the least challenging pop music ever to lay claim to rock's rebel posturings. As they crank out slab after slab of laughable knuckle-dragging hard rock, one wonders whether they're a comedy outfit - surely even Spinal Tap would baulk at songs as self-consciously dumb as "Loose'n'Juicy", "Hot Sugar", "Messin' in the Dressin' Room", and "Shake That Bush Again" (not a political song). But they seem to mean it, maaan, and when Sammy James Junior lets up on the high-pitched squealing, they manage to effect a passable Black Crowes impression: hardly innovative, but more welcome than the rest of the album.

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