On Dark Ride (FEEDING TUBE RECORDS FTR444), Massachusetts band Mozzaleum play a set of quasi-spooky instrumentals, attempting some sort of horror-movie experience in music and sound…the effort is bolstered by plenty of echo and delay on the guitar, fuzzed-up Farfisa organ playing minor chords and eerie melodies, and the old stand-by of screaming voices and sound effects sampled from old movies. The latter move seems particularly naff – to say it’s a played-out trope would be generous, but at least Mozzaleum sound like they’re having fun as they do it. They remind me a little bit of Combustible Edison, who have been known to perform Henry Mancini covers and similar kitschy tunes with modern instruments, modern attitude, and as straight a face as they can manage.
I’m assuming that the name Mozzaleum is meant to suggest the mozzarella cheese of a pizza, so it could be the band are admitting upfront to being “cheesy” and playful. To get the full experience, you need to see one of their live sets if you can, since it seems they screen movies to provide a rich and gory experience. The second side of the LP is more upbeat and informed by a spirit of fun, including radio spots and loving recreations of a vague 1960s beach-blanket-bingo vibe, where LPs with flipback covers by The Ventures and The Challengers can soon be found. 1 The A side is that shade darker, and contains the very bleak ‘All Hallows Eve’, a depressing and dreary dirge that’s like a kind of anti-Krautrock pastiche; and ‘Do Not Enter’, a long and panic-inducing workout that shows the band at their best (discordant, free-form instrumental episodes) and their worst (the over-cluttered sound). For a far more successful take on this sort of thing, and one that is more genuinely disturbing, I suggest hearing any record by Pain Teens – e.g. 1990’s Born In Blood. From 5th July 2019.
- Well, maybe in the UK they could be found, but they didn’t have flipback LP covers in America. ↩