Mixtwitch - All Bets Are Off (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


All Bets Are Off (2004)


Oh, this takes me back, back to 1997- I was a junior in high school, and as my buddies and I would carpool to and from school we would blast the Fat Wreck punk, which in my opinion, was at its peak. '96 brought the then-most-recent Good Riddance album A Comprehensive Guide To Moderne Rebellion and Propaghandi's Less Talk, More Rock. 1997 offered Lagwagon's Double Plaidinum, No Use for Name's Making Friends, Bracket's Novelty Forever and Hi-Standard's Angry Fist (though that was not as good as the rest in retrospect). And of course, we also had founder Fat Mike's then not-as-political band releasing So Long And Thanks For All The Shoes which prompted young punkers who didn't get the reference to think "Is NOFX breaking up?!"

1997 also happens to be the year Mixtwitch started making music in Dublin, Ireland. Perhaps they wanted to carry on the sound of their influences from across the pond, 'cause they sure sound like a Fat Wreck band from '97 to me. I don't know how good they were then, but if this EP came out in '97 I bet Fat would have scooped them up in their mid-90's worldwide signing spree of bands that sounded fairly similar: England's Snuff, Japan's Hi-Standard, Germany's Wizo and Australia's Frenzal Rhomb. Mixtwitch seem to be doing pretty good for themselves anyway, for after a small label release of their first full-length they were picked up by Moon Ska Europe who released their next album, the unfortunately titled Smile For The Money Shot in 2002. Also, they have opened all over Europe for some bigger name U.S. bands like Reel Big Fish, Mad Caddies, Finch, Good Charlotte, Slow Gherkin and The Slackers. In what I've been reading, Mixtwitch seem to get labeled as a ska-punk band, but this EP has no ska to be found, only tight new-school punk. They bypass the double-time but still keep the tempo up, focusing more on melody than speed. They probably sound closest to NUFAN if they wrote in major keys, or maybe older Ataris.

On the All Bets Are Off EP all the songs are level in quality, which is a good sign for their consistency on their next full-length, due out this year. The production is even up to Fat standards, recorded by Ryan Greene in San Fran. Here it's hard to pick a favorite song, but the title track may take the award mostly based on the strong chorus melody and the dynamic variation throughout. That's something these guys excel at; they don't just rip through the tunes like a lot of these bands do/use to do, they throw quite a bit of variation into each song while staying within the genre. "Let's Go" also has a great and easily-singable chorus (with some a nice counter-melody backup line), and some pinch harmonic guitars thrown in at the end for good measure. "Fourth Time's A Charm" and "Brighter Side" has slightly weaker melodies, but the latter made up for it with a little more riffage than the rest.

If you yearn for the days of Fat Wreck gone by but want some new material, Mixtwitch may be just what you need. If you think that sound has come and gone, you probably didn't read past the first paragraph.