If someone asked me what I would make of this release I might jokingly say “I could make a hat, a broach or a Pterodactyl”! (quote courtesy of the classic 1980 movie Airplane!)
Seriously though, this is a kick-ass modern rock release with top-notch songwriting, production and performances. But the reason I joked about this release is because it is somewhat of a mystery in a way. This EP seems to be the mastermind of Steve Brown (ex-TRIXTER) but the credits on the bands’ website lists the members as Martino Hroncich (guitars), Bobby Valante (vocals), GiGi (bass) and Cheese (drums)! Could this be a tongue-in-cheek joke of sorts? I think so, because the vocals sound just like those of credited producer and engineer Steve Brown . Not to mention the guitar playing and writing style of Mr. Brown’s previous group, 40FT. RINGO.
Just one look at Steve Brown’s website (www.stevebrownmusic.biz) and you’ll see he is one busy man. Since the breakup of TRIXTER in the mid-90’s he has headed up or been involved with many bands. THROWIN’ ROCKS, 40FT. RINGO (Atenzia Records 2003) and STEREO FALLOUT are just a few that come to mind. Plus, he’s stayed busy on the New Jersey cover band circuit with the popular SUGARBELLY and his own solo shows… and not to mention he’s been involved with plenty of production and engineering work too.
So now this EP seems to come out of nowhere and if you’re a fan of any of Brown’s previous works or bands like SR-71, AMERICAN HI-FI and the MARVELOUS 3 you will definitely want to check this release out.
The EP opens with “First Time in My Life”. This track rocks out big time with a simple, yet awesome guitar riff that may remind you of early VAN HALEN . Stylistically the song sits comfortably where Brown’s last band, 40FT. RINGO , left off. It’s a classy modern rock track that has all the elements to be a success at rock radio.
“40 Days” picks up where the first track ended. Stylistically it is close again to that of 40FT. RINGO but with maybe a tad more guitar in the mix. The guitar playing is great and it wouldn’t surprise me if singer “Bobby Valante” was behind this also! Brown has always been a talented guitarist and because of the earlier VAN HALEN riff-age comparison--a major influence of Brown’s --it would seem to make sense he would have an involvement in this too.
The third track, “2nd Avenue”, mellows things out a bit with a more acoustic-based song. Again the track is classy and may even remind one a bit musically of the GOO GOO DOLLS. Brown’s production really shines through on a track like this as it is crisp and clear.
“You’re So Cool” is maybe the catchiest song on the EP. It has super memorable chorus that will get stuck in your head for days! Those SR-71 and MARVELOUS 3 influences I mentioned before creep into this track. The song is very cool (no pun intended!) and something I could also see getting some radio play if given the proper chance.
“Just Like Today” slows things down a bit again. While the song doesn’t particularly sound like anybody else it is fairly a paint-by-numbers affair.
“Devil’s Chain” closes out the EP in rocking fashion and brings back the SR-71 influence into the mix. The vocals have a slightly distorted effect but the chorus is catchy and the guitar work is crunchy. It’s a pretty good way to close out this 6 song EP and kind of leaves you wanting more.
You can check out the bands’ website at www.meanbluedays.com for ordering information as it’s the only place I’ve seen it offered for sale. It’s definitely worth the price if you’re a fan of any of the bands mentioned in the review.
- Martino Hroncich – guitars
- Bobby Valante – vocals
- GiGi – bass
- Cheese – drums
- First Time In My Life
- 40 Days
- 2nd Avenue
- You’re So Cool
- Just Like Today
- Devil’s Chain