Measles Mumps Rubella - Fantastic Success (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Measles Mumps Rubella

Fantastic Success (2006)

Doubling Cube

MMR was one of my most dreaded childhood acronyms. You see, my entire life, even now, nothing has even come close to making me as uneasy as needles. This was obviously worse when I was younger, and every few years I'd get a check-up, and receive shots to prevent Measles, Mumps, and Rubella. And every time, I would prolong it as long as humanly possible, asking the nurse to just wait a few more minutes; "I need to think about it." The band Measles Mumps Rubella has to be approached much the same way.

There's no drawing of blood, or injecting of antibiotics, but you do have to step back for a few minutes. Really think about it. The shallow classification of Fantastic Success is that it's dance punk, but that's selling it short. This album is a much more engrossing experience than anything Hot Hot Heat have ever recorded. It mixes elements of punk, dub, and trance, all thrown in a melting pot to create songs that are just far enough outside the norm to remain engaging.

Vocals aren't always present, there's not always a pounding bass-line, but something is always going on, if only you have the ear to look. There's a lot of subtlety on the record, and it really does go a long way in making it a more unique and rewarding listen.

The first few songs are the songs in which the more traditional dance punk sound is employed. Thick, punching bass, vibrant keyboards, and vocals that sound like they're being shouted through a megaphone, all pretty standard fare until the absolutely guitar freakout injects some life with about a minute left to go. The title track follows that up in a bit more mellow of a fashion, with bouncy guitar harmonics and a thumping bass drum. The vocals are also toned down quite a bit here, to the point of actually sounding like some pretty enjoyable singing. Things start to get much more interesting after that. The droning and snare drum crashes of "Libra Science," the haunting, ambient beauty of "Mthstery of Zygo," and the varied moods and tempos of the closer "Nice Hollow Bodies" all help to really round out the album, give it some true variety. It's a record that relies heavily on atmosphere, even in it's most minimal leanings, and for that it's able to develop a truly unique personality.

Maybe MMR will carry a bit more positive a connotation for me now. Like shots when I was younger, it takes some patience, but there's plenty of reward to be had.