M-Squad - _M-Squad_
(Primate, 1998)
by: Paul Schwarz (8 out of 10)
The band name imbued me with an image of a militant, socio-political hardcore band, with the name containing some kind of Orwellian tie-in (e.g. Memory-Squad = Thought Police). As I quickly learned that the "M" in fact stood for "mush" and, when expanded, "mushroom", the picture of a drugged out stoner-rock band became much more prominent in my mind and provided a much closer approximation of the truth. M-Squad's closest musical cousins are somewhat legendary stoners Kyuss, but the band, which features three former members of the death/doom band Bloodfarmers, have a lot more to offer than just sound-a-like music. They have the definite advantage over many other bands of being able to pen some pretty killer riffs (see "Tractor" and "Meant for Dying" for prime examples) and well constructed songs and have a reasonable amount to offer in originality of their own too. For me, on this offering, the main source of originality stems from the track "Hoedown Blues", which is, as the band chuckle just before they play it, "a regular hoedown". Parallels can be drawn to offerings of other bands, but the particular choice and purity of the jam gives it its own edge, whether you like hoedown or not. Definitely an impressive offering among this year's bunch in this genre and, overall, an album which shows considerable ability and a fair amount of talent, along with the possible effects various hallucinogens and intoxicants can have.

Contact: Primate/M-Squad, 241-12th Street

(article published 16/1/1999)

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