Led by the man of consider coiffure, Christopher DeArcangelis, Chicago-based miscreants MAMA find the lean line between the heavier end of ‘70s AOR and pre-’76 power pop with some added power borrowed from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (or NWOBHM), at times even sounding like the beginnings of the Glam/Hair Metal-era before latex, hairspray and considerable budgets blew the trend into oblivion. With a lineup that’s rotated regularly over the last few years, this sterling EP finds a supergroup that shined brightly but briefly in guitarist Daniel Rico (EGO, Dan Rico), bassist Joe Montanaro (aka Joey Rubs of The Rubs) and drummer Matt Dudzik (vocalist for Poison Boys).
Led off by “Lazer Lover,” a riff-laden rocker with Thin Lizzy-referencing harmonic leads, the EP crackles with immediacy from front-to-back. Suggesting the greasy rock/pure pop of Artful Dodger (or the beefy, balladic moments of the Raspberries and Billy Squier’s early band Piper), follow-up “Some Weird Sin” is a lover’s ode to treats from the radio, fitting into a long tradition with charm to spare. While the B-side continues on in illustrating DeArcangelis’ dedication to classic song structure, crafting timeless jammage that belongs as much to today as it does to forever, serving up pure pop with the unique slant of espionage and paranoia nearby in “Girls Next Door.” But, all of this doesn’t prepare you for the epic, momentous title track that closes out the set. Ascending with immediate lead guitar, before dropping into a dense, galloping, glammy groove, “Eye In The Sky” is a moment of perfection many bands work years to strive toward. Carrying across four minutes, with its intermittent angelic back-ups and fascination with an omnipresent force, it culminates in a riff-heavy rave-up that’d make any Guitar God proud.
Previously only available digitally or as a limited-edition six-song cassette by Maximum Pelt in late 2016, MAMA’s strongest EP to date is seeing first time release on vinyl, with a Silver Age comics-referencing cover illustration by Steven “Plastic Crimewave” Krakow (The Secret History Of Chicago Music), coloring by Tony Crazeekid (Crazee Kids Sound) and a rear sleeve design by Josh Styles (drummer for blues-punk madmen Daddy Long Legs /co-owner or NY rekkid shop Rebel Rouser). Printed on felt weave paper in a top-loading pocket-sleeve produced by the fine folk at Imprint and manufactured at Third Man Pressing in Detroit, this release is limited to 500 copies worldwide.
RIYL: Artful Dodger, BITERS, Cheap Trick, The Dictators, GIUDA, KISS, Piper, Raspberries, Sheer Mag, Starz, Thin Lizzy, etc.