Sophisticated Mouth (Tee Pee)
by Brian Varney
If you heard Bad Wizard‘s first album (2001’s Free and Easy, also on Tee Pee), you’ll know what you’re getting with Sophisticated Mouth (I wish they’d stuck with the originally announced title Solid Gold, which better describes the band’s and album’s overall ambience and isn’t nearly as stupid as the one they chose): Nine songs of sped-up AC/DC-ish punkers with lotsa dueling Les Paul work and shouted background vocals. The raucous material, the recklessness with which it’s presented, and the fact that it’s all over in 30 minutes makes this the perfect party album. It’s a suitable accompaniment to the joyous destruction of your next beer bash and it’ll probably be over by the time the police arrive.
This is the sort of thing that’ll doubtless appeal to fans of the classic (re: 1950s) rock’n’roll stylings of early Motörhead, Ramones, and AC/DC. Anyone who’s ever nodded their head knowingly at the Keith Richards recipe for what it takes to play rock’n’roll (three chords, two fingers, and one asshole) will probably be overjoyed with Bad Wizard.
I personally am a fan of all the things I just mentioned, and I enjoy both Bad Wizard albums, but I had the same complaint with the first album as I do with this one. These guys (and gal) undoubtedly know their rock, and the albums sound great while they’re playing, but there isn’t that one song that burrows into your mind and holds on for dear life. They haven’t written their “Ace of Spades” or “Whole Lotta Rosie” yet. Free and Easy had one stupendous tune in “Natural High,” but if there’s one on Sophisticated Mouth, I haven’t found it yet. If they could cram together a few more nuggets like “Natural High,” there’d be no stopping them.
(PO Box 20307 New York, NY 10009)