Portland's Magic Mouth may have gotten their start playing Nina Simone songs, but their latest EP Devil May Care pours their jazz roots through a fine mesh of post-punk. The emerging liquid is pure rock and roll. MC5 riffs collide with funky bass with a late 70's kitchen sink punk sensibility. Translation: without allying themselves with any one musical movement they've created something to make your body move.
The EP opens with “Swampy Seconds” which fits New York Dolls glam rock with soul vocals. The queer quartet of Peter, Ana, Brendan, and Chanticleer wear their influences on their sleeve, sure, but their influences are so vast and varied, they don't run the risk of being classified as retro. “Disco Song” may ride a dance beat, but it's pretty far removed from the pop cleanliness of the BeeGees. Fun as their dance tunes may be, it's the epic ballad “Mothar Lode” where Magic Mouth really shine. Chanticleer's vocals dance on top of a minimal bass line. The song rises and falls with a chorus of harmonies. Suddenly the Nina Simone influence makes a lot of sense. For a band to be equally capable expressing some soulful depth as they are with a fun rock-out is a rare thing.
- Words by Nathan Leigh