Mr. T Experience – Yesterday Rules / 12 Tracks / 2004 Lookout Records / http://www.lookoutrecords.com / Released 13 January 2004 / Reviewed 21 January 2004
Somewhat lighter of a release than I would expect from the Mr. T Experience, a band that I thought would perfectly espouse the Lookout ideal of a pop-punk band. There are still some remnants of the punk roots of this band, but a lot of it has been tempered by a richer sound and a greater move towards an alternative style of rock. During “Fucked Up on Life”, MTX use a xylophone-sounding instrument to provide a contrast to the rhythmic bass line. In a track that sounds eerily like “Joy to the World”, “Oh Just Have Some Faith in Me” uses a harder-edged guitar to offset the vintage vocals. Moving into the realm of pop-alternative like Pete Yorn and the Pixies, “Big Strange Beautiful Hammer” is an acoustic-led track that would seem just as place on AM radio as it would be in pretty much any time period. While every single individual would call MTX an pop-punk band, the music that is on “yesterday Rules” is completely contrary to that fact. This is music that is transcendent of genre, as it is of time and location. Each track is a well-crafted pop nugget that will most likely be ignored by mainstream radio, never mind the cohesiveness of the tracks. “The Boyfriend Box” moves back to the surf-pop of the sixties in the sense of vocal accompaniment and guitar track. While it is more of a mindless pop song than the rest of the rest of the disc, even with the distorted bridge, it still is more interesting than practically ninety percent of what is currently being played on pop radio. If an individual was saying that something solid and innovative in its outlook would be put out on Lookout Records, I would have said you were full shit shit. However, after quite a few years of re-releasing every old release (knowing that they had a lack of talent at the time), Lookout Records is finally putting out some good music. The Mr. T Experience might be pigeonholed as a punk band by some, but pick up “Yesterday Rules” and one will see a band that is not afraid to experiment with synthesizes, a large amount of acoustic guitar, and a number of genres that really put the disc outside of the small punk “box”. Even if some of the more punk tracks, “Elizabeth or Fight!” for example, sound like old Descendents and Husker Du, there is more than enough innovation on this disc to make up for a little coasting.
Rating : 9.1/10
Top Tracks : Big, Strange, Beautiful Hammer , Elizabeth or Fight