Sunday, 5 May 2013

Rogue Transmissions - Mxrcxl - A Laughing Matter (album review)

A short while ago / Een kort tijdje geleden
I got a disc in the mail / Ik kreeg een disc in de mail
An unsolicited package / Een ongevraagde pakket
How on earth / Hoe op aarde
did this guy / Deed deze kerel 
get my home address? / krijgen mijn huisadres
His name was Mxrcxl / zijn naam was Mxrcxl
so / dus
anyway / hoe dan ook
I played it / ik speelde het

And so it went.  I'll admit, it's been one of the highlight thrills of my short time on this blog to receive this piece of mail with the name 'Paranoid Hitsophrenic' actually typed out onto the envelope.  In the envelope was an insert, typed in the style above, briefly introducing and telling the story of the band.  First off, if you were going to say the name of the band out loud, you'd say Marcel, the x's are there to spice things up and add a touch of madness ...

Musically, I wouldn't chalk this up on the stoner side of the ledger.  I'd call it alternative or even indie rock, but that's not really accurate.  It may be more properly labeled electro punk, but let's not get too caught up tagging this thing with labels.  This is madhouse music.  Prominent keyboards and a bold, dynamic vocal delivery set this band apart from the off.  "I Will, You Won't" swaggers in boldly with a bright keyboard sound atop a thick bass groove showcasing highly developed dynamics giving way to some dark back alley atmospherics.  The song travels to some epic places and crescendos in a near panic attack of keyboard-tightened intensity.

Things really gel together for the band on "I Forgot to Smile", a song which jogs down a frantic road toward the dark woods of self-examination.  Keyboards come to the fore, staying busier thoughout the track, while being treated as a lead instrument for the first time on this EP.  As always Marcel's deep, face-ripping bass holds down the fort, sounding menacing as always, all the more so for the bright accompaniment that glides atop as counterpoint.  "Photographs" has an almost "Strawberry Fields Forever" feel to the keys which sound mellotron-y for their flutiness.  All told, this is a strong EP because just as the band really establish themselves they get out of dodge, leaving the listener wanting more.

Lead man Marcel comes across vocally as a Mad Hatter or Cheshire Cat like figure conducting mad tea parties or mystifying strangers from tall branches as necessary.  His is the kind of infectious madness that most people would deign to avoid, the kind of madness that possesses him to send out surprise promo copies to strange folks such as the one that can be found sitting on the other side of your screen here.  Luckily for him and his three bandmates, madness is as much a thing to be avoided here at the Paranoid Hitsophrenic HQ as is having a face, two arms, two legs and a covering of skin.  It's the call of nature, a sacred duty, a sworn oath to crawl along the edges of normality, to lift the corner of reality and say "well, what have we here?"

As a kindred spirit, it's only fitting that Mxrcxl has made me question my own reality with 'A Laughing Matter'.  The first time I listened to the disc I thought, "I'm not sure about this."  The second time I played it I thought "Oh okay, I get it.  This is pretty good".  The third time I played it ... well my thoughts turned to ash and I was blown to bits by this band's energy and dynamism.  And that's why this is a Rogue Transmission.

Highlights include: "I Forgot to Smile" and "Photographs"

Rating: 4/5

Total Run Time: 17:31

Mark - Guitar
Jasper - Keys
Lion - Drums
Marcel - Vocals / Bass

From: Rotterdam, Netherlands

Genre: Alternative Rock, Indie Rock, Industrial

Reminds me of: Filter, Roxy Music, Satellite Beaver

Release Date: March 19, 2013

Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: A mad tea party, what else?

Better Reviews:
Stoner Hive
Loud Stuff

Mxrcxl facebook
Mxrcxl official website

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