Mental as Anything

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The Mentals' debut album, predated by the single (and opening track) "The Nips Are Getting Bigger," is a terrific grab bag of influences melded together by five artistic heads, creating a unique and original sound that also sounds comforting and familiar. Blending classic rock & roll (from Elvis to the Beatles) with a new wave outlook, the Mentals end up sounding like a heavenly mix of Rockpile and Squeeze. Martin Plaza's warm and inviting vocals dominate the album, both on his songs and his bandmates' tracks as well, although guitarist Reg Mombassa and keyboardist Greedy Smith have their chance to shine (bassist Peter O'Doherty weighs in with two tracks, though he only sings lead on "Love Is Not a Gift"). Cameron Allan's stiff production tends to hide a bit of the band's playfulness, but the band's energy does filter out in the songs. "The Nips Are Getting Bigger" is a fantastic opener, full of witty wordplay and great band dynamics. "Business and Pleasure," "Talk to Baby Jesus," "Fringe Benefits," "Insurance Man," and "Egypt" are all classic Mentals tracks that never loose their charm. Though the album isn't perfect, there isn't a terrible song in the bunch. If you're looking for great chops, catchy songs, and a bucketful of charm, you needn't look any further than Mental As Anything.

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