A thoroughly enjoyable first release from this Boston-based collective that dabbles in a variety of pop structures, keeping the mood spirited, upbeat, and unpredictable. Named after their gruff-voiced lead singer Spookie, the band slides from sunny reggae and ska to horn-sprinkled, light, rhythmic Grateful Dead-ish pop on "Andrew Jones Ain't No Biggity Man" to a rinky-dink big band workout on "Pleasure Appointment," where Spookie sounds so much like Tom Waits, you'll be checking the credits to see if he guests. Loops add an offbeat Soul Coughing approach to the shuffling, bluesy "Happy Happy," a connection that isn't coincidental since Coughing's upright bassist Sebastian Steinberg is the brother of Pride's guitarist Adam Steinberg. Hints of early Squeeze and Elvis Costello creep in, but SDP is more funky, frothy, and carefree, similar to Smash Mouth in their catchy songs and carefree performance. "Big Car" even harkens back to Frank Zappa's Apostrophe era, with Spookie's deep, sometimes distorted vocals and a heavy groove. "The Bump" is infectious, high-speed percussive funk with wah-wah guitars that just won't quit, and "Go Get It" ambles with a lazy Memphis R&B gait, touches of early Red Hot Chili Peppers and a singalong chorus of the song's title that's instantly memorable. Sometimes a little too eclectic for its own good, Marshmallow Pie explodes with unbridled enthusiasm from a young group that plays with jittery, juicy excitement and enough twists to hold your attention for their entire debut. It's a flawed but highly original introduction to a tremendously talented band who will hopefully continue to release albums as well-conceived and delightful as this.
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AllMusic Review by Hal Horowitz