Mustard Plug – In Black And White

  • Bobby Gorman posted
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Mustard Plug

In Black And White - Hopeless Records

With sixteen years under their belt, Mustard Plug knows what they’re doing. While they were never one of those few bands who really struck it big with the ska explosion a few years ago, the band has been releasing consistently strong releases nevertheless; and unlike many of the bands who did strike it big,Mustard Plug has neither broken up or released a shockingly horrid CD. Instead, Mustard Plug have stayed consistent, steadily maturing and growing stronger while always remaining in that loveable genre known as ska.

On their sixth album, Mustard Plug shows that ska is still alive and kicking even if it’s not the flavor of the month. Blasting off with the energetic and slightly rough Who Benefits?, the listener is pulled into the album instantly and while the slightly more serious subject matter and heavier guitar riff may not be theMustard Plug you know and love; it’s still a great, catchy song that kicks off the album perfectly. Hit Me! Hit Me! is more of a return to form as it’s more straight forward ska with a phenomenal upstroke and a brass section that is one of the strongest on the record. Copasetic is energetic and upbeat while You Can’t Go Back slows it down a bit more and Real Rat Bastard is the perfect sing along song that really captures the essence that is Mustard Plug. Really, that song is worth repeating over and over again and you can’t help but sing along after the first time.

In Black and White sees the band once again maintaining true to their sound and style. The songs are more complex and written in a much more memorable fashion than they were sixteen years ago, but it’s still third wave ska straight to the bone. Plus, Bill Stevenson and Jason Livermore did an amazing job producing and mixing the release. Everything is perfectly level in the mix and the volume is crisp and clear. Unlike some albums (Less Than Jake‘s In With The Out Crowd comes to mine) the brass on In Black and White comes shining through while still letting the rest of the instruments – and Kirchgessner’s vocals – play a leading role in many of the songs when needed too. However, the effect of the famed Blasting Room producers are still evident as the album is easily the darkest album the band has ever released. The vocals are harsher, near the end of Time To Wake Up, vocalist Dave Kirchgessner sounds similar to The Mighty Mighty Bosstones‘ Dicky Barret as they become slightly heavier and darker, and it is much edgier and much more agitated than some fans will be used to; but the album still works and even with the edge to them, the songs are still a rocking good time.

So not only is it one of the strongest ska releases of the year, but it’s one of the strongest releases of the year – period.