Album Reviews: Mardo by MardoAre you ready to rawk? On the face of it, Mardo’s shtick seems a day late and a dollar short: classic ‘70s riff rock served up with loads of testosterone and just a hint of irony. Didn’t a bunch of falsetto-voiced, snaggle-toothed guys from England do this not too long ago, not to mention some scruffy lads from Australia?
But it takes less than two tracks for California brothers Aron and Robert Mardo to make you forget all about those other cock-rock traditionalists, The Darkness and Jet. The monster guitar hooks and rousing choruses of “Anyone But Me” and “Poor Paul” are so good it’s fair compare them to great one-two punches from the debut albums of other Golden State monsters of rock: “Runnin’ With the Devil” and “Eruption/You Really Got Me” off Van Halen; “Welcome to the Jungle” and “It’s So Easy” off Appetite for Destruction. “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” and “Cold Hard Bitch” aren’t even playing in this league.
Nothing else on Mardo quite equals the glory of those opening tracks, but there are highlights aplenty, from a sleazy, menacing cover of Huey Lewis’ “I Want a New Drug” (yeah, you read that right) to “Hey Girl!”, a barnstorming love song with an overamped vocal that would do Foghat proud and the immortal line, “If there’s one crime that I’m guilty of, it’s loving you too long.” If that doesn’t make them flick their lighters, nothing will.
So is Mardo still a day late? With the number of new rock bands copping AC/DC and Cheap Trick riff these days, yes. Are they a dollar short? Not by a long shot. The brothers Mardo (who expand to a trio on the road, though guitarist Rob Small is not featured on this album) bring fresh energy to this style of balls-to-the-wall “rawk,” and you get the distinct feeling that they’re probably going to get better. - Andy Hermann
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