Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Out Of The Tunnel - (1980)

Shrunk down to a four-person one-drummer lineup, MX-80 continued to bring the noise — and very well at that — with Out of the Tunnel. The casual please-nobody-but-themselves approach from earlier releases continued with little change on the nine-song effort, further securing the band's identity on its own, resisting pretty much any label that could be thrown at it. Poppy but not power pop, aggro-metal without indulging in the wank fantasies prone to that style, deadpan and humorous without being a put-on, MX-80 just plain shone here, with only the slightly murky mix preventing Out of the Tunnel from achieving perfection. Anderson's spiraling, twisting, and turning guitar riffs are equally matched by the stop-and-shift-on-a-dime Sophiea/Mahoney rhythm combo, transforming songs like "It's Not My Fault" and the suddenly heroic "Someday You'll Be King" into compact, thrashing monsters. "Follow That Car" just seems to get more tense and wired as it goes, encapsulating the nervousness of new wave better than most groups who claimed the name as a tag, while Anderson's dip into technically oriented soloing on "I Walk Among Them" is both fun and gripping. Stim, as before, is the perfect wild card, as apt to wail or zone on sax as to suddenly talk/sing across the beat, odd cultural references and rambles turned into miniature stories. (Sometimes, he can play it straight — his soothing chant vocals on "Frankie I'm Sorry" offset the increasingly wild music.) His sax turn on "Fender Bender," helping nail down the core looped melody with the storming chug of Sophiea and Mahoney while Anderson completely rocks out, is one highlight of many. Out of the Tunnel was later combined with the follow-up Crowd Control to form the Out of Control compilation. (allmusic.com)


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