I’ve been seeing things like this for way too long. Every band has a groove now, owing just as much to Liquid Liquid as they do to Fugazi. All of my friends who did ‘zines five years ago now spend their money on twelve-inch singles for their weekly deejay nights in Williamsburg. When are these kids going to realize that dance punk is this year’s ska? But there are, of course, exceptions. Check Measles Mumps Rubella, a four-piece from the always musically boisterous Washington D.C., and their most fully realized single yet, Fountain of Youth.
Much like the Talking Heads and the Clash did twenty years ago, MMR takes an international route in defining its post-modern punk sound, complementing themselves with strains of dance, reggae dub and groove-based funk. It was a good move to offer Fountain of Youth on both CD and vinyl formats — it’s one of those songs that’s best at the dance floor. The A-side invokes an expansive journey through texture and sound that throbs with the tension of a full dance floor on a humid July night.
Not coming off as excessive, “Fountain of Youth” is followed by a remix of itself by the crazy, wish-they-were-in-Tron D.C. group Trans Am, which has never stopped reinventing itself. The nervous energy that was the original track becomes an altered state of futuristic paranoia superseded by nervous strokes of energy.
On “Fear No Water,” the group takes its sound into !!! territory with an expansive twelve-minute-plus track that takes a vibrant hardcore energy straight to a rooftop party at ESG’s group house. This song may be too much to listen to at times, but its unbridled energy on the dance floor is a different story, with its length only begetting more frantic action.
Bottom line: Fountain of Youth is that good. I’ve never quite known what exactly was going on in the District, but that city’s bands tend to get it right, and Measles Mumps Rubella is another winner. Their fusion of the grit and energy of hardcore and the expansiveness of dance-punk comes up all stars on this single.