Danger: Rock Science!

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The energy of the opening title track on Menthol's Danger: Rock Science is instantly captivating like all great rock music is, even if it's not especially dangerous. Formerly known as the early-'90s indie rock outfit Mother, Menthol's Danger: Rock Science was originally slated to be released on Capitol Records in 1999, but when Capitol passed on it, Hidden Agenda Records eagerly claimed the project and released it in January 2003. The band's fresh take on the new wave sound is centered around singer Balthazar de Ley's vocal aerobics on songs like "Future Shock" and "The Professor"; Devo-esque tracks full of attitude and experimental spirit. Also noteworthy is the fact that de Ley spent much of his youth in Paris, so the influences of Charles de Goal and Telephone are not surprising. Synthesizers lead the way on many tracks, blending with Henry Frayne's guitar, Colin Koteles' drumming, and Joe Spencer's bass work. The toe-tapper "The New Recruits" is followed by the steady and soulful "What's Your Rationale?" The disc ends with "Solitary Zone," which reeks beautifully of David Bowie-inspired flare. In the end, what makes Danger: Rock Science stand out is the fact that it is refreshingly sincere, and remarkably enthusiastic. Originally conceived before the slew of retro-new wave inspired acts of the early 2000s, the disc was ahead of its time in a way. It just took awhile to finally see the light of day.

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