Mystery Machine - 10 Speed (1995)

10 Speed
1 Pound for Pound
2 Horn O' Plenty
3 Brand New Song
4 Gouat Eeyesss
5 Phantom Tollbooth
6 Just a Sec
7 Sinker
8 Neither the Players
9 Mouser
10 Chihuahua
11 Neath
12 Pothead
13 Time Killer
14 One Hour Action/Drama / Heart of Glass

Introduction

Sometimes I wish I could go back to the nineties just to crawl in old record stores again. With my knowledge of music nowadays there are surely some gems I haven't bothered checking out back then.

Mystery Machine is one of those bands. They haven't even been unsuccesful. In Canada their first two albums sold quite good and they even were nominated for the Much Music Award.

Mystery Machine released 3 albums back in the days and then went on hiatus just to return in 2012 to release another album.

10 Speed was their second effort and together with their debut "Graced" marked their peak.

The Sound

Soundwise Mystery Machine are a child of their times. The influences are obvious. Grunge, Noise Rock, Shoegaze.

What Mystery Machine sets apart from many bands is their potential to find the right balance between edgy and accessible, distorted rockers and half acoustic hymns

The band also shows, why todays alternative rock is in large parts so bloody boring in comparison. Where todays bands rely on riffing only, bands back then played lots of little leads, clean or noisy. This keeps a song from sounding mundayne, instead something new awaits the listener after each segment. This is what makes great albums, there is actually something to discover and it's too much to grasp it all on first listen.

If that last statement made you think about Dinosaur Jr. then you got the first obvious comparison just right. J. Mascis' band surely was an influence for this band.

There really isn't anything wrong with this album. Slower tunes such as "Sinker" with its great guitar final go hand in hand with straight out rockers like the brilliant opener "Pound for Pound".

Interestingly the band members consider themselves as a shoegaze band. Personally I am missing the obvious trademark sounds from this genre and rather see Mystery Machine as a Noise Rock band. In the end it doesn't matter, both genres are closely related and as long as the result is of such high quality as in this case, who am I to complain?

So while a flashback like this shows what has been missing from the majority of music in recent times, luckily there have been a few bands rediscovering these sounds, like Dead Confederate or Cheatahs.

Mystery Machine on the other hand are one of the originals. It just happens that some never heard of them. Even more glad I am now, that I had the chance of discovering these guys 20 years later.

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