""We're faded" but not out of sight," Linda Hopper sings on the first track of Mouthfeel, her band Magnapop's first album in eight-and-a-half years. Actually, the reverse sums up Magnapop's situation pretty well: though all but the most devoted fans probably think that the band broke up years ago, now that Magnapop has returned, their sound hasn't faded at all. Aficionados of literate, energetic college rock from the early '90s will probably be excited enough to have the band back to forgive problems with Magnapop's new material, but fortunately, that's not necessary. Mouthfeel is not only one of the band's strongest collections of songs, it's also their most effortless and relaxed-sounding work since their 1992 self-titled mini-album. Instead of putting a glossy, modern-rock spin on their sound -- which undermined their previous album, Rubbing Doesn't Help -- on Mouthfeel Magnapop returns to the simply-produced, edgy power pop of Magnapop and Hot Boxing, both of which are still as fresh as they were when they first came out. Hopper and guitarist Ruthie Morris still have great chemistry, and songs like "We're Faded" and "Pretend I'm There" show that Hopper remains a distinctive voice, neither girlie-pretty nor rawk-chick tuff. "Satellite," "The In-Between" and "Think for Yourself" are fizzy but thoughtful, a distinctively Magnapop combination, while "Stick to Me" is a great example of their sweetness and punch. Magnapop's catchy, concise, unpretentious music is a far cry from most 2000s indie rock, but Mouthfeel should remind those who lost touch with the band just how good they actually are, and win over at least a few new fans as well.
AllMusic Review by Heather Phares