Houston Calling

Review: Mechanical Boy, Play Along

October 24th, 2008 · 2 Comments

Mechanical Boy
Play Along

At the recent Bandcamp event, local musicians, producers, music writers, fans, and other interested parties met to discuss ways to broaden the Houston music scene’s national scope and help bands to better market their music. Ideas ranged from social networking and playing less shows to playing more shows and making more music. Surprisingly, the quality of local music wasn’t discussed–fortunately, often it’s not an issue.

Such is the case with the latest release by Houston’s Mechanical Boy. While the band’s emo leanings were apparent in the past, their debut full-length instead blurs the line between modern indie rock and Eighties alternative. Fans of The Killers, Interpol, Fall Out Boy, and Kill Hannah will undoubtedly rally around the album’s somebody-done-somebody-wrong songs, and Play Along’s pop-infused, melodic alt-rock ranks it among the most accomplished albums by a Houston band this year. Frontman Tim Anderson’s vocals bring to mind Eighties pop icons Duran Duran and Tears For Fears, but the band–bassist Chris Applegate, keyboardist Jason Castle, guitarist Michael Regino, and drummer Matt Wheeler–works to keep the music up-to-date.

“Tabloids” and “Swing Low And Carry Me Home” kick things off with a solid edge, and liberal use of the keyboards help minimize the nostalgic feel. The album captures live favorite “She Does” well, and the funked-up “Play Along” and “New Persuasion” solidify the album’s cross-genre appeal. But “The Who’s Who Of My Youth”–whose hooks rival Franz Ferdinand’s “Take Me Out” for catchiness–is Play Along‘s highpoint, and with it Mechanical Boy raises the bar for local music.

Mechanical Boy celebrates the release of Play Along at Fitzgerald’s tonight (Friday, 10.24.08). Buy the album at iTunes, SmartPunk, and at local independent music stores.

Tags: Music · Reviews · Show listings

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 bford // Nov 17, 2008 at 10:05 pm

    The track “the who’s who of my youth” is very catchy.. I love the main guitar riff from the verses… very nice stuff. Lots of energy in the chorus. A band I need to go out and see live for sure.

  • 2 SPACE CITY ROCK » Update: Mechanical Boy Review + CD Release Tonight // Mar 4, 2011 at 11:03 am

    […] And as always, it’s all subjective. The ever-cool David Cobb over at Houston Calling has a review of the CD up right now, too, and Chris Gray at the Houston Press reviewed it last month while most folks were too busy […]

Leave a Comment