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Mustard Plug Pray for Mojo (Hopeless Records)
Review by Jessica Brandt
This is the third major-label release from this Third Wave ska outfit from good ol' Grand Rapids Michigan. Actually, there is a 4th album...but it was really a re-release of their first album, which wasn't on a major label, and it came out in 1992.
A new album from Mustard Plug, nonetheless.
Of course, this one isn't the same as their first major-labeler Big Daddy Multitude, but not every album can be that great. Much like Evildoers Beware, Colin, Dave and the gang mix more of the punk aspect of the Third Wave into the album, especially on the track "Someday, Right Now" which starts off sounding like MxPx. Yikes!
Like the other two (or three) albums, Mustard Plug represents themselves as the good Midwestern working-class boys they are. They keep the same jumpy guitar sounds and consistent bass that we've all grown to love as MP fans (we ARE all MP fans, aren't we?) with an incredibly tight horn section that gets better, and more prominent, with each album.
Fans of Mustard Plug will no doubt recognize the group-chorus "Lolita" from their last US tour, as well as some of the other tracks that they tested out on us. "Throw A Bomb" starts out with some manic bass and then goes in to a tough rocker about how some folks just get pissed off and think it's appropriate to toss a bomb (at the end of the song in the lyrics sheet, MP writes "Mustard Plug does not endorse the use of explosives...in the words of Froghorn[sic] Leghorn, it's a joke, son.) Of course, the utilize the backup chorus of "whoooaahh oooo ooo ooooahhh."
Someone in the band obviously has a serious girlfriend now, because there's more love songs than ever on this album. Of course, "love song" to Mustard Plug means the same jumpy ska rhythms, just with nicer lyrics.
The only other standout tune on this disc is the final track, "We're Gonna Take on the World," which is destined to become another "Beer Song"...aka a nice anthem for the kids to sing along with at shows. It chronicles the band's history (as the liner notes say, "perpetuating our own myth since 1991") "Even tho we really sucked/we kept it up didn't give a fuck/'cause that's what the music is fooooooor" (everybody sing now) "we're gonna take on the world/come on every boy and every girl/we're gonna take on the world/come on every boy and every girl."
Ever since I became schooled in the art of ska way back in 1994, Mustard Plug has always been my favorite. They've kept their big ska sound, not compromising to fit into a more punk or a more swing scene. Their live show is (pardon my French) awesome as fuck, and even though they are the most popular Hopeless band out there, they're still sweet guys and love to play music. I urge y'all to get out to a MP show sometime on this tour, even if you're too much of a man to like ska, because they're a good rock'n roll band at heart.