The title isn’t so hot and the band’s trippy website has just burned psychedelic holes into our eyes, but man have we been digging the Mabuses’ Mabused. In fact, we probably would have called them a Band To Watch if they hadn’t been around the block so many times.
A brief, selective history lesson: The group’s 1991 self-titled Shimmy Disc debut and 1994 sophomore record The Melbourne Man (Rtuk) were both released on Rough Trade in Europe. More than a decade later the “multi-national” band’s returned with aforementioned album number three. In 1994 frontman/main songwriter Kim Fahy also released an album with another of his bands, the Egomaniacs, which is ha-ha ironic, because these are some seriously low-key chaps, and keeping track of who does what/where they’re from requires a pie chart. (For semi-completists and trivia buffs, the cast includes folks from the U.S., England, Ireland, France, and Germany who’ve done their part with Clock DVA, Siouxie and the Banshees, Love Spit Love, Lloyd Cole, the Jesus & Mary Chain, Loop Guru, Lisa Husik, the Innocents, etc. A couple few, including Fahy, were in the Assassins.)
What’s it sound like? The low-key material (a la “Byayaba”) reminds us of the Coral; the orchestral work (a la “Garden Evils”) of Apple Venus-era XTC. There’s a Beta Band streak and some Syd Barrett madcap with an E6 lilt (see “Seasider,” which you can literally see in this video. Other favorites are “Sugarland,” “Feast,” “Garden Devils,” and “Destination” (there’s a break three minutes in, then it turns into a hidden swing). Trivia: The breezy pastoral “Glass Eyed Pitter Patter” opens with sampled dialogue from White Heat.
OK! Enough from us and our gallery of a thousand references. Hear the entire album for yourself:
Some might say it’s too Broadway. We say there’s not enough piccolo in indie rock.
Mabused is out 9/25 on Mabuses own Magpie label.