The Mooney Suzuki
Alive & Amplified
This is another one of those ’70s psychadelic/soul/rock throwback records that are so in vogue these days. The difference, though, is that The Mooney Suzuki appear to pull off these retro-afro-glam rock stylings quite easily. Alive & Amplified doesn’t sound like an imitation, it sounds authentic.
Even the cover art looks legit. With its 3 headed topless black woman with flowers for hair and swirly background landscape, it could have easily hung at the Filmore back in the day, advertising the Jimi Hendrix Experience, or Sly and the Family Stone, or Janis Joplin. Instead it advertises 4 white guys from New York whose music could be the missing link between Booker T & The MG’s and The Who, Sam & Dave and KISS, The New York Dolls and Lenny Kravitz.
The music is full of soul and sex, and celebrates the free love times of the ’70s — a time when rockstars were encouraged to wear skintight pants and break all sorts of laws in their hotel rooms. The themes of Alive and Amplified are simple: get high and get it on. Most of the songs are about sex, guitars and naked ladies. Check out some sample lyrics:
From opening track, “Primitive Condition”: “Let’s get in a primitive position/We’re just fancy animals with hands/And animal glands.”
“Shakin’ when I wake up/Keep a heavin’ just to breathe/Chubby cherub up above me/Heathen fiend asleep beneath” – from “Shake That Bush Again.”
“Put ’em in then ya pull ’em out/Do the loose ‘n’ juicy/Shake it all about” – from “Hot Sugar”
And my personal favorite, from “Messin’ in the Dressin’ Room”: “(woman) Now that we’re alone/Wouldn’t you like to slip into something more…comfortable? (man) Like you!?! (woman) uhhh…”
In an age of political correctness, hearing a band that isn’t too self-conscious to write words that could’ve been penned by KISS is oddly refreshing. The Mooney Suzuki are of the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll school of music. Sometimes this produces great rock music (“Primitive Condition,” “Legal High,” “Shake That Bush Again”), other times it comes off sounding flat (“Somtimes Somethin'”). This is by no means a perfect record, but it is fun. It’s a party album. Invite over some friends, indulge in your particular poison and crank Alive & Amplified up for ambience.
The Mooney Suzuki: www.themooneysuzuki.com