Mustard Plug - Masterpieces: 1991-2002 (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Mustard Plug

Masterpieces: 1991-2002 (2005)


Try and remember back in the late 90's, junior high, or high school for most of us; what were you listening to? Reel Big Fish's "Beer," Catch 22's "9mm and a Three Piece Suit," or was it Mustard Plug's "We're Gonna Take on the World?" Ska was hot property in the late 90's, with the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Less Than Jake, and others proudly parading the third wave. It seems like Mustard Plug often get lost amongst the others, however, but their retrospective Masterpieces: 1991-2002 is giving the kids one more chance to listen.

Spanning eleven years, thirteen different members, and 19 tracks, this really is the complete history of Mustard Plug, with tracks being contributed from Yellow #5, Skapocalypse Now, Big Daddy Multitude, Evildoers Beware, and finally, Pray for Mojo. Every album is at least somewhat represented, with comments from the band members on each individual song in the liner notes as well as a host of pictures and the story of how the band started in the first place. The booklet is impressive, but how's the music? Well, if you're at all familiar with Mustard Plug, you already know just what you should be expecting.

A whole lot of fun. The album exhibits a good amount of continuity, considering the band has had two different drummers, two different trombonists, two tenor saxophonists, and two bassists. Dave Kirchgessner, however, has been the singer throughout the band's entire career, and he sounds just as fresh and lively in the old recordings as the new. The catchy, rock'n'roll singalongs, such as "Throw a Bomb" are represented just as well as the more horn-oriented tracks, like "You" and "Just a Minute." Mustard Plug know when to turn the amps up, and when to turn them down and let the horns do the talkin', which is admirable if nothing else. "You" is a rousing track stuck right in the middle of the album, in perfect placement for the infectious grooves and vocals.

Normally, I'd complain about a ska record closing in on an hour's duration, but I was having so damn much fun that I can't bring myself to bitch.

The latter half keeps the hits coming with fan favorites "Box," "Skank By Numbers," and the aforementioned "We're Gonna Take on the World," which captures the Plug's youthful spirit better than just about any other song. The guitar and horn combination on "Safe" is terrific and "Mendoza," despite slowing things down, keeps the flow going nicely. There's not really a whole lot to say; chances are, you've made up your mind about Mustard Plug by this point in your life, and for any fan, this collection is a must-have. For those not previously acquainted with the boys of Mustard Plug, why not start right now?