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The Mooney Suzuki - The Maximum Black EP

Released on V2 Ada, 9/12/06

Back in days of yore, before the Mooney Suzuki wrote and performed the title track in School of Rock, before People Get Ready and Electric Sweat received rave reviews, The Mooney Suzuki were just a 24 hour, 7 day a week, hard working garage band. For those feeling a bit nostalgic about those long ago days in the late 90s, The Maximum Black EP has arrived.

Largely a nostalgia piece, The Maximum Black EP is the first "commercial" release of the rare, out of print Mooney Suzuki EP from 1999. The originally titled Black was sold at Mooney Suzuki shows and on their website, but was never sold in stores. This "maximized" version of the original contains 5 additional bonus tracks dredged up from original recording sessions.

While clearly this re-released EP is designed to satiate diehard Mooney Suzuki fans while the band presumably works on a new album in the wake of 2004ís Alive and Electrified (BTW, Youíve gotta LOVE the tagline for Alive and Electrified --"Turn it on. Turn it up. Turn it loose."). Admittedly, Alive and Electrified was not terribly well received by longtime fans as it was a bit of a departure from Electric Sweatís more visceral, gritty rock and introduced a slightly more polished sound.

One has to wonder if The Maximum Black EP is an indication that Suzuki Mooney will be returning to the more garage oriented rock sound that got them off the ground. Things start off with a bang with the earnest and raucous "I Say I Love You". This rocking love ballad is unrelenting (as true love often is) with staccato drum beats and a chorus to match ("When I say that I love you I mean that I love you.").

From there Mooney Suzuki segues directly into the somewhat mournful, pleading "My Dear Persephone". The pain of unrequited love has always been fertile ground for any self respecting rock band and this track is a wonderful example of what one can do with it creatively. A slightly slower paced track, but still far from long winded, "My Dear Persephone" charms.

In listening to The Maximum Black EP, it becomes all too clear how the relentless authentic, hard rocking style of Mooney Suzuki enabled them to perform on the same stage with the Stroke and the Hives on their respective tours. The original Black was a portent of things to come. The Maximum Black EP while a nostalgia piece could arguably be described as a portent as well.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars