Album Review: MAD ONES – Behaviour
Take one part Toronto two-piece heavy rock outfit Death From Above 1979, strip away the electronic-sounding dance-y bits and add equal amounts of angry Queens Of The Stone Age and CKY for spice, and you’ll start to get a good idea of what to expect from Behaviour, the debut release from Toronto garage rock duo MAD ONES.
With this September 2011 LP release, MAD ONES have crafted a no-nonsense rock album that’ll leave a funny taste in your mouth when it ends… mainly because with a dozen hard-hitting rock tracks to pelt you in the face, you won’t believe it clocks in under the 35-minute mark.
One of a slew of bands these days following the two-man rock band route, Behaviour opens with a catchy title track, and it quickly becomes evident why Mad Ones succeed so well with this formula: they don’t sound like a two-man band.
The production on the album is rich and full – in a few places the recordings harkens back to some mid-era I Mother Earth guitar work tonally.
Each dirty rock track is catchy in its own right, boasting an infectious opening guitar riff (‘Behaviour’, Bells Don’t Ring’, ’Autumn Bleeds’, ‘You Get Used To’), or – equally as impressive – a hooky drum beat intro (‘Darling of The River’, ‘Out Of Love’)… not an easy thing to feature at the forefront in a rock song – so major kudos to percussion man Phil Wilson (just look into how important the drum beat was for the at-the-time controversial extended intro to MJ’s ‘Billie Jean’).
Guitar/lyric-man Andrew Devillers keeps it fairly straight-forward with the wordsmith-ing, such as in lead single ‘800 Days’: “Hey old man where is my head, there were only sixteen dead; I think it’s time I went back home, something good gone a-wrong.”
There’s nothing complicated about it, and the words flow so easily that one can’t help but sing along – this is especially forthcoming with the audience at their live shows.
Unfortunately though there are a few spots on the album when Devillers’ tremendously powerful scowled vocals get a little too reverb-heavy and end up lost amongst the guitar distortion and the depths of the drums.
Halfway through the album things take a strange turn – self-titled track ‘Mad Ones’ and the aforementioned ‘Out Of Love’ showcase a much more conventional style of songwriting that’s much more easily-accessible without deterring those without heavier-rock-leaning listening habits, though they also make for great bridging tracks for those interested in coaxing these sorry excuses for friends into listening to the rest of this fantastically heavy album.
If there was ever any doubt that good hard-rock was dead, MAD ONES’ debut LP Behaviour is a sure sign that it’s alive and well – if you haven’t been converted to the world of heavier rock yet, then surely this is as good a place as any for the indoctrination to start.
- RYAN STEPHENSON PRICE