Mouthwash - True Stories
For a band that were courted by Rancid’s Tim Armstrong Mouthwash are more Busted than Exploited. There’s a real sense of romance to the streetwise Ska on offer here, so perhaps this qualifies them as being prototype Nu New Romantics? Actually, scrub that as their subject matter is too mundane, and I don’t use the word pejoratively, in its account of daily, London life. Much of the album takes place on one form of public transport or other (bonus carbon footprint points there lads) and much pursuing of young ladies.
Like most bands these days, it would seem, they are good mates with The King Blues and that’s a fairly safe contemporary reference point, although you can also hear the influence of earlier pop masters like The Jam and The Beat, the latter most notably apparent on Southbound and the former more generally in the pop sensibility which underpins nuggets like the bouncing A Face In The Crowd and the impossibly tender romance of No Fear.
Most interesting, however, is Dark Was The Night which strays furthest from the dub ska template, being a synth drenched epic which features liberal use of Andy Summers style delayed, damped guitar arpeggios. This track hints at a potentially interesting and mainstream future for the band. Whether they can bear to leave the Rancid crowd behind is the big question.