Müg – Düg E.P.

Posted: October 17, 2011 in Album Reviews, E.P. Reviews
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Release Date: 1st September 2011

Label: Unsigned

Most of the time on here, I’ll review an album I’ve bought or one I’ve stumbled into randomly, giving the bands in question a surprise when they see some nice (or not) words written about their musical output. A few bands hear that I write stuff and send me their musical output with a request that I write some nice (or not) words about it. Very rarely do these two things happen at the same time, but that was the case when the guitarist in a certain London punk band gave me a sly nudge and a ‘fancy reviewing this then? Cheers’ message, completely unaware that I’d already downloaded and had been listening to (and planned to review) the very EP he passed on to my attention. So then, Mark Bell and the rest of Müg, as you wish – here’s a review of your excellent second E.P., ‘Düg’.

I’m never one for subtlety, and you may have noticed the rather glaring hints in that opening paragraph pertaining to me rather enjoying this little record. So I may as well come clean and admit that this collection of tunes ranks alongside Melchett’s debut (and what looks like only) record as the top ‘pleasant surprises’ of 2011. The North London quartet win points right off the bat by a) not taking themselves too seriously and b) having a sound that dismisses any advances made in the punk rock genre made after 1991 and instead concentrates on rocking out to the tune of skateboards, beers and chants of ‘Oi! Oi!’.  Looking for something forward-thinking? Progressive? Life-affirming? You’re in the wrong place, pal. Now kindly go and do one.

That may sound like I’m slagging off the record, but having a throwback sound isn’t a bad thing as long as you don’t just blatantly grave-rob and pillage all over the place. And this record avoids that for the most part.  The band doesn’t wear their NOFX-style riffs and 80’s Oi! punk gang vocals as a badge of punk credibility – instead they use them as building blocks to create 2-3 minute tunes that lodge firmly in your head and depart well before they overstay their welcome. There’s elements of Bad Religion’s late-80s attack, the intro to opening track ‘Shotgun’ wouldn’t sound amiss on  ‘Dookie’, and the aforementioned NOFX references are oozing out of the wallpaper, right down to the slick and sharp guitar sound straight off of any old Fat Wreck/Epitaph record. Crucially, it’s tight as all fuck, with just enough leeway to give the instruments chances to enjoy themselves.  The musical style may place the record somewhere in late-80s California, but it’s grounded back in late-80s London by the vocal style, taking nods from the likes of Discharge and the Angelic Upstarts with it’s cockney geezer delivery and gang vocal shouts and chants. Some of the arrangements also have just a hint of the Descendants about them, particularly the sub-one-minute blast of ‘Beard’, and the lyrics are self-deprecating and funny enough (particularly on ‘Specialist’)  to avoid sounding trite.

All in all, very solid and fun stuff that points to a decent future ahead full of pints, circle pits and singalongs – exactly the kind of thing any good punker enjoys. They have a good ear for a hook, an eye for a one-liner and a bagful of classic influences to boot, and they ain’t afraid to use them. And while bands all around them steadily disappear up their own rectum looking for the new spark to drive things forward, the Mug boys prove that sometimes going back to the future is the better option – when the results sound this enjoyable, who needs innovation anyway?

Rating: 80%

Standout Tracks: Shotgun, Number One, Specialist.

Download the album here: http://mugrocks.bandcamp.com/

Words by Adam Johnson.

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