The wrath of a sound denied is ready and willing to lay claim to what is rightfully theirs.
Can you teach an old dog new tricks? Does lightning strike twice? Who cares; stop thinking in clichés.
But if you’re headed that direction, know that though the storm that made The Marvelous Beauhunks famous years ago and the one brewing today may look the same, Who Said The Kids Are Alright? is a whole new venture. And you’d better batten down the hatches because you’re in for one hell of a ride.
The new sound and vision they embody is without a doubt the best high you can get without a prescription. They have become seasoned over the years, and while learning from their trials and tribulations, the now five-some from Ontario, surge with electricity as they confidently breathe life into the bland assumption that is today’s rock.
Taking on the power vocals of Fab Claxton, the Beauhunks form an edge the world didn’t know they were missing until now. Fans of the “Fantasy Merry-Go-Round” days will not be disappointed as the Stephens’ are back. Closs dominates with his classic, albeit incredibly rare, Rickenbacker riffs and Wright drives each track from behind his kit with time tested precision. New hunks Duane McDonald and Fraz bring bass depth and harmony that take the sound from bold to “holy hell!”
The best part about The Marvelous Beauhunks remains the same today. That is, if you didn’t know them before now, you’ll still find them insanely addicting and infectiously energetic. The shredding vocals and inner-audiophile driving-instrumentals are like a defibrillator to today’s music scene; shocking it back to life with a vengeance; Beauhunks style.
As their name would suggest, the self-proclaimed “Best Looking Band in the World,” is in fact the direct cause of wonder and/or astonishment. They have a new face and a new style. The Marvelous Beauhunks bring class back to rock. A little early Who, a little Bush, you can call it a resurgence of Brit-rock, call it modern Mod, call it whatever you want, but whatever you do, don’t deny yourself the experience of The Beauhunks.
Why do we always come back to things? Why do so many rockers always list the Clash and the Smiths as influences? Why did Dave Grohl, Evis Costello and Bruce Springsteen absolutely crush it ten years ago playing “London Calling” live at the Grammy’s in tribute to the late Joe Strummer? Why are we still talking about the Violent Femmes debut 30 years later? Why is the Grosse Pointe Blank soundtrack still in my library?
Simple. The music is good.
The Marvelous Beauhunks get this. The flash in the pan of brilliance that was “Fantasy Merry-Go-Round” was not a fluke. The punk/mod sound, with all of its quirky artistry, was a homing beacon for the lost teens of the 80s and early 90s. Unfortunately nothing lasts forever and here we are revisiting TMB 20 years later on their new EP Who Said the Kids Are Alright? Stephen Closs and Stephen Wright remain on guitar and drums respectively, but are joined by new frontman Fab Claxton and rhythmists Fraz and Duane McDonald.
From the moment after the album opens with a relaxed drum stick count, the sound bowls you over like a tsunami. Jangly guitars, muddy bass riffs, tight snare and Claxton’s raspy droll poetry (drolletry) attack and attack and attack for four straight minutes. As each track progresses, and hooky hooks are met by crashing guitar chords, you realize something: a band that was founded on a whim has evolved into several rock pros just doing what they do best. And they were able to do it without having to record the inevitable electronica album in the late 90s. Though I bet they would have rocked the pants off of “Discotheque.”
Who Said the Kids Are Alright? is captivating, intelligent, yet irreverent and far too short. The title may speak to the disenfranchised youth of the world, but could just as easily be a metaphor for the Marvelous Beauhunks early days. The men that put out this EP are a-OK. They understand the sound that we return to, and the one that made them popular the first go-round. They get that it’s good, and when a pro gets it, the sky is the limit.