Item 9 & The Mad Hatters have sold out.
You heard me.
The Iowa quintet has surged forward from where we left off (Old Style) with the release of The Chronic Illness: Freshly Baked. And there is no other way to put it, except for the fact they’ve sold out. They’ve sold out from “Meh” to “Awesomeness.”
The Chronic Illness: Freshly Baked had me questioning if we were even listening to the same lads that produced Old Style; which, if you recall, I enjoyed. But this latest endeavor is cohesive, finely tuned and all-around entertaining.
The nine track release is packed with a funkified rock, like a deep-track Faith No More meets Sublime in a haze-filled basement filled with black lights and lava lamps. From beginning to end we are still given enough smoking, belligerent rock to satisfy the party fans but Item 9 & The Mad Hatters reel in their talents to create a thoroughly entertaining record.
“The Queens” opens the album with the vibes we know the Hatters to lay down. It is a bold, mind-rocking track packed with forceful licks. As the album progresses, it slips into a high. Not a high like peak, but more of a bowl-packed/Simpsons-marathon-for-no-reason high. “It’s All Good” is a great little funk ditty with surprisingly fun vocals. “Downtrodden” had me wondering if the Hatters have gone soft; that is, before I got lost in the floating jam that consumes the last half of the six-and-a-half minute track. Solid as the record is, the song to take away from it all is easily “Phunk 4/20.” It is only the second track, but it in-and-of itself solidifies these guys in my mind as a must follow band.
Iowa bad boys Item 9 & The Mad Hatters have shifted from a sound that was hard to be restrained to a cohesion of great music. And in the process, they have not lost a thing. If anything, they have grown while staying perfectly true to themselves. If you want to follow a band that has a massive future, this is it.
John Lee Smith
Old Style was a great album and the band sounds awesome live. But this album is not that good. In fact it kinda sucks. The only good thing about the album are the two local musicians they used in it. Both are great. They could have made a much better album than this. I hate to say it because I’m a fan of the band but it really isn’t that great. Sorry Item 9. Still think you’re a great band. Hope your next album is as good as your first. It has to better than The Chronic Illness.