The Optimus Club
The Optimus Club are not a bunch of rock stars. In fact, the band is a side project by Mark Harper of The Bogues. The Bogues aren’t rock stars, either. Mark does the music thing when he isn’t being a defense attorney. Mark described the music made by The Optimus Club as a sort of cross between The Cowsils and The Partridge Family. That’s a pretty fair assessment, except there are no girl singers in Mark’s band. Michael David Brown is Mark’s vocal and instrumental foil in this group, which is rounded out with a revolving cast of support players.
It’s a bright, shiny, sometimes shabby world that The Optimus Club inhabits. Like The Bogues, The Optimus Club mines the last 50 years of pop song conventions for their hooks. “Mood Swings” almost sounds like something Bing Crosby might have sung. “Surfing Woo Woo” runs through Ventures country, while “Soul Sister” revisits Haight Ashbury. “My Place” sounds like the narrator of the Talking Heads classic “Don’t Worry About the Government” on some serious mood elevators. Some of the songs on Box are quite silly. “Tapioca Pudding” at first sounds childishly simple, then takes on a rather twisted overtone (how twisted depends on how dirty your mind is). The Optimus Club isn’t going to burn up the charts, but that not the point. This is a disc by guys who just want to play music and have some fun. Taken on that level, it’s a huge success.