Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Mystery Bloom, Lifetime in the Heart CD review
New Jersey has proven time and again that it's always been a fertile ground for local talent. The now-defunct Mystery Bloom is the latest band of Garden State rockers to come to my attention. MB arose out of the ashes of N.J. club band Sinnocence and features three members from that long-gone outfit—guitarist Danny Roselle, bassist Nick Clemente and drummer Dave Garcia. Singer Ray Morales and guitarist Bob Gilmartin round out the MB lineup on Lifetime in the Heart, a reissue of the group's Frame of Mind debut.
The disc opens with the prog-metal stylings of "Frame of Mind," with strong Kansas-like group vocals and a vaguely Middle Eastern sounding guitar/keyboard riff. Vocals are, in fact, a big key to the MB sound. While Morales' voice has shades of late Badlands singer Ray Gillen, the entire group's dulcet throats drive songs such as "Life" and "Soulmate Serenade." The guys even hit a 4-part a capella harmony on "Paperback Writer," a cover of the Beatles' tune! In this respect, MB can be understood as a hard-rock band with real '60s and '70s pop roots; there's such an emphasis on harmony backing vocals in both the arrangement and execution of songs that you can almost hear echoes of legendary Motown vocal groups. Of course, the rock is never sacrificed on any of the tracks.
If MB has any fault, it's that their tunes make it almost too easy to pin down the musical reference points. "Adore" opens with an acoustic chord progression copped from Alice Cooper's "Only Women Bleed" before moving into a chorus that's reminiscent of Tesla's "Love Song." Meanwhile, "Life" sounds like it could have been an Enuff Z'Nuff outtake, with its Fab Four-like harmonies and gentle lyrical disposition. The disc only really falters on the Latin funk-rock jam "Pray Another Day," which at nearly 6 minutes is the longest track here. All in all, this is a solid effort with appreciable musicianship and a great knack for marrying prog-rock aspirations with pop tendencies.