The Mushroom River Band


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Building on the promise of their solid debut, the Mushroom River Band's second effort, 2002's Simsalabim, delivers energetic Scandinavian hard rock of the finest vintage. With frontman Spice deciding to commit himself fully to this project after relinquishing his primo position with Michael Amott's very successful Spiritual Beggars, one gets the distinct feeling that the Mushroom River Band really mean business now. Indeed, Simsalabim generally avoids the first L.P.'s more experimental distractions to focus almost entirely on pedal-to-the-metal intensity, as the quartet bulldozes their way through these ten songs, with barely a moment's respite. Opening with the turbocharged title track and the devastatingly fast tandem of "Bugs" and "Make it Happen," the band is clearly relishing in their fast 'n' furious philosophy. Eventually, they find time to toss a brief acoustic bridge into the excellent fourth cut "Change It,"and then finally take a breather with the steady-rollin' "Proud of being Cool," which qualifies as the disc's longest track despite lasting only a mere four-and-half minutes. Like the Spiritual Beggars, whom they resemble in many ways even without their shared vocalist, the Mushroom River Band exudes utmost confidence in what they're doing without necessarily blowing your mind with brilliant innovations to the stoner rock genre; but then there's something to be said for a damn good hard rock album that never lets up -- this is one such album.

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