“We believe in the banishment of love . . . We will go where no one’s ever gone before,” announce the M’s on their self-titled full-length debut. Serving their garage grunge with a psychedelic glam shimmer, the M’s present a millennial mixture of T-Rex rock-as-sex glut and charming Kinks pop constructions. Complete with organs, horn fills, tasty harmonies and fat, fuzzy guitars, The M’s does not deny the band’s influences, nor does it simply regurgitate them.
After inking with Brilliante Records in 2003, the four-piece re-released its original self-titled “basement” EP (they intended to release three more EPs, but instead decided to merge the unreleased material, along with four tracks culled from the first EP, into their latest long-playing romp, The M’s). Building off that first EP — and the buzz surrounding their compelling live shows around Chicago — the M’s have been steadily garnering the attention of artists and media, sharing bills with Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Wilco, Stephen Malkmus, and the Walkmen, as well as securing a spot in the 2004 South By Southwest showcase.
Why all the attention? The M’s can move you, baby, that’s why. This is evident in the album’s highlight, “Big Baby Bottoms,” as its drums and rhythm guitar chug along beneath the rise-and-fall vocals. And then there’s the irresistible bass line, thrusting guitar riff, and pushing drums on “There Is Work.” Consider “Holding Up,” which beginning with a single guitar chomping alongside a simple drum beat and vocals and grows into a groovy attack of Mick Ronson-esque guitar work; “2 x 2” starts off with a few reverb’d specks of what sounds like a toy vibraphone; takes form with a solid backbeat, affected organ and lazy vocals; and jumps-off with a flurry of tambourine and searing guitar. And don’t miss the warbling spiritual psychedelia (“We all come back to where we’ve been”) of the Beatle-esque finale, “The End Is Still the A.”
The M’s contains some convincing tracks (I mean, it’s glam … you have to sell it). And because of these, some of the slower numbers (though still well-arranged) linger too long and become a bit monotonous (“Riverside” and “Eyes on the Prize”). While the M’s don’t actually go “where no one’s ever gone before,” the debut is worth a listen. And if The M’s is predictive of what’s to come, there will likely be some interesting work to look forward to. Unless of course they go the coked-up, bloated, strung-out, rehabbed, worn-down route of the glam hags of old. There’s always that route. Ah, that lovely route.