The Mooney Suzuki

Electric Sweat

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The Mooney Suzuki are a grimy bunch, palookas with hearts of gold. When singing about "Oh Sweet Suzanna" (and rhyming it with "Can you remem-bah"), "A Little Bit of Love," "The Broken Heart," and "Natural Fact" (which starts out with "Everyone needs honey, like a bird or bee, girl I need your lovin', like fish need the sea," without a trace of guilt), the band comes off like that cartoon of the big tough guy with a goofy Mona Lisa smile, embarrassingly offering a single posy to the girl of his dreams -- sincere and sweet in spite of appearances to the contrary. Things get gritty in the streets, too, with optimistic spirituals blasted out by vocalist Sammy James Jr.'s stately baritone, but the voice is only part of it. Listen to the instrumental "It's Showtime, Pt. 2" without shaking your groove thing to the groove's swing. If you manage that feat, you obviously are not breathing. Like a long lost Fluid disc, Electric Sweat proffers primordial MC5 riffs with a healthy dose of soul as only four white guys in leather jackets with every Motown record in their collections could manage, bringing Detroit to your home, even if they're from New York and the Japanese name woulda rankled the locals way back when. The Mooney Suzuki improved on what the band's aforementioned forefathers fostered with reverence and fun, a simple formula that can't be faked, and isn't faked here.

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