Oh Yeah! (Live)
One day when I wasn’t looking there was a merger between the punk and ska. This seemed a bit odd, since the punks were the descendants of the rockers, the English grease and leather set who got their kicks by drinking beer and kicking the shit out of the Mods. The Mods dressed snappy, rode Vespas, and got their kicks by taking speed and kicking the shit out of Rockers. Well, what do you know – now there’s all this talk of unity and ganja and they’re all in the same bin at the record store.
MU330 crawled out of the Midwest in the ashes of the ’80s with their sensibilities smack dab in he middle of this punk-ska conglomerate. St. Louis hasn’t been the nexus of any musical movement since the blues, but those Midwest boys have time on their hands and perfected the sound after milking the cows and shoveling the walk and cleaning up after the golf ball sized hail. In the past 13 years (longer than many marriages), they’ve pounded out half a dozen decent records filled with a sound that’s safe enough to live with, yet edgy enough to involve the college radio set. Oh Yeah! is an unsweetened live recording recapping most of their semi-hits, recorded in front of a friendly and noisy hometown crowd. Like so many live records, it’s a poor intro to a band you’ve never seen — the hits are there, but the arrangements are a bit rough. Standing in the crowd on your third or fifteenth Bud Lite, that’s cool, but in your car, they sound like a solid wall of noise. My favorite tune, “Hoosier Love,” comes over as fragmented and none to interesting, which is unfortunate. Other hits like “Stuff” and “Turn Me Out” fare better, but out of the studio, MU330 sort of slips into that gray mass of post-punk punk poseurs, with only a couple of trombones to lift them above the mosh pit.
The CD comes with a booklet that lists every single gig they ever played, from the drummer’s sister’s graduation party to tours of Japan and Eastern Europe. I would have preferred lyrics, but it’s their retrospective. Oh Yeah! is really for the serious MU330 fan, but a poor introduction to hardworking club band.