Various - Mooster Mania II (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Mooster Mania II (2012)

Mooster Records

Chicago's Mooster Records returns with (presumably, given the title) its second compilation of pop flavoured punk rock, featuring twenty bands, eighteen of which are from the USA and two from elsewhere (Brazil and Holland). My initial thoughts when playing this for the first time is that, if Ramones had never existed then releases like this would never have happened. That's not a criticism, just an observation as the first few bands display more than enough Ramones-like qualities (especially The Connection) to have me a bit worried for the album as a whole. However, as the CD spun some more, there were enough variations in the music to ensure that it didn't blend into a total Ramones love-in.

The highlights for me are provided by the following:

The Windowsill (Dutch pop-punk) – "What If You'd Leave Me Now," is undoubtedly from a band influenced by Ramones, but these Dutchmen manage to make it come across as sounding quite fresh and current.

Wimpy & The Medallions (New Hampshire outfit featuring Wimpy Rutherford, the original vocalist with The Queers) – "Still Headed Nowhere" is the title track of a four-track released by the band, and Wimpy's growl certainly adds a charm to this song, which also features some nice, short guitar leads and some great keyboards. Also, Wimpy sounds a lot like Joey "Shithead" Keithly as well.

Geoff Useless – Useless is also a member of Wimpy & The Medallions and here provides a short snappy banjo led track that manages to hit the spot.

The Ex-Bombers – This seedy pair deliver a scuzzy number in "Sexy Interrogation" which really makes me think of the band playing in some dark and dingy club, lit by a few candles, raising the temperatures of those in attendance through the warmth of the track.

The Hung Ups – Reno, NV pop-punkers who never fail to deliver and that's the case here too. They're experts in energetic pop-punk and "Dante Hicks" is another example of their brand of it.

Flanders 72 – Melodic punk outfit from Brazil that sounds a bit like No Fun At All. Good stuff.

The New Rochelles – one of the best Ramones-influenced bands around today, although they actually sound more like the Teen Idols. A catchy song with a great sound and nice production.

Low Culture – Ah, to find this lot hidden amongst the twenty bands is a joy. "Evil" is a great track and is to be released as a single to accompany the band's European jaunt this spring. This stands out as the best track on the compilation.

The Bi Polar Transmission – Vanian/Danzig style vocals over a fairly thick sounding melodic accompaniment. Wasn't too sure on this at first but grew on me after a few plays.

Yes, there are some low points but none of them are hideous so I'd recommend you just make up your own mind up on what's good or not. This is available as a download for $3 (£2) on Bandcamp.