Sunday, May 17, 2009

MENTAL AS ANYTHING celebrates 30th Anniversary with TWO releases!

My passionate love for MENTAL AS ANYTHING stretches back nearly 30 years. I was aware of the band when they released their debut in 1979 but didn't get a chance to hear them for nearly a year or so when an import version of that debut album, Get Wet, finally made it into my hands thanks to those fine folks at Aron's Records in Hollywood (unfortunately, Aron's no longer exists).

A few years later, their American debut album, If You Leave Me, Can I Come Too?, made it into the shops and other U.S. fans were able to feast on the Mentals' unique and easily accessible sound. In fact, KROQ picked up on a few songs including "I Didn't Mean To Be Mean", "Too Many Times" and, of course, "If You Leave Me, Can I Come Too?" This American album was a collection of sorts, featuring many of the tracks from their Aussie album Cats & Dogs plus some singles and a few remixed versions of choice tracks from Get Wet.

The Mentals sound was (and is) a mix of Squeeze-like pop songwriting smarts, a Nick Lowe/Rockpile roots-rock foundation and a healthy dose of pure Australian humor and atmosphere.

While the band never quite caught on in the U.S., they continued releasing great albums in Australia, keeping the same five man line up for over 21 years! But the band did eventually lose original members Peter O'Doherty (bass/vocals), Reg Mombassa (guitar/vocals) and David "Bird" Twohill (drums). Now, the Mentals continue to tour and record with original members Martin Plaza (guitar/vocals) and Greedy Smith (keyboards/vocals), who were the main vocalists and hit songwriters. Though the original band is not intact anymore, the Mentals still have much to offer... and TWO releases are heading to a store near YOU!

The first, Essential As Anything, is a CD/DVD combo featuring 20+ bona-fide hits on the CD PLUS 30+ amazingly cool videos on the DVD! While the title is a slight misnomer (EVERY Mental song is an essential addition to your collection), it is a great introduction to a worthy band that you might have missed the first time around... or maybe you just want to take a trip down memory lane?!!!

The second release, Tents Up, is a brand NEW album! Now, I have not heard anything from this album (no pun intended), but both Martin and Greedy remain supreme songwriters and I'm sure that it will be nothing less than wonderful! I'll certainly be reviewing this album once I get my grubby little hands on it (and, to be honest, I don't even have Essential As Anything yet, but I know every song backwards, forwards and inside out! I'm anxious to own all those videos, though, since I spend hours on youtube watching and rewatching them!)

So, although I only meant to add a quick little mention of these two import releases, I can never write something about this band and NOT go a little overboard. So, keep an eye out for more Mentals info as it comes in!

Peace, my music-loving brothahs and sistahs!

Stephen SPAZ Schnee

No comments: