CD Reviews 10 Sep 2006

rncoverMIGHTY SHORT BUS – Rogue Nation

(2006   Self-Release)

Mighty Short Bus at once sound like a classic.  Combining their brand of Midwestern rock-and-roll with a substantial dose of Southern rock a la the Black Crowes and Lynyrd Skynrd, MSB rock the house from start to finish on this fourteen-song sophomore recording, Rogue Nation.  But that’s not all; elements of Foghat, Cheap Trick, R.E.O. Speedwagon and even the Who make an appearance here.  Not surprisingly then, the band manages to play several different brands of rock from the barrelhouse blues of “Run for the Hills,” which morphs into a Creedence Clearwater swamp groove in the middle section, to the Latin-flavored interlude “Shot Music” that leads into an acoustic slide-guitar-textured “Weather the Storm,”    to the psychedelic and plaintive “Wrong to Leave,” the album’s best track.  “Evil,” perhaps sums up the band’s ethos best; earnest Midwestern rock with pulsating organ, timeless lyrics about that evil woman that just can’t be told “no,” and a doubled lead-guitar solo that is exquisite.  “I Don’t Mind,” which has just been added to 105.5 Triple M’s playlist, is actually the heavier side of the band, posessing a propulsive riff reminiscent of Stone Temple Pilots and a mean, growling vocal from lead singer/guitarist Frank Busch. 

Mighty Short Bus have many strong suits: Three-part harmonies that blend together nicely, hefty keyboards that round out the twin-guitar assault of Busch and Nic Adamany, fiery rock-god guitar solos from Adamany, and a rock-solid rhythm section in bassist Rob Junceau and drummer Benny Stitgen.  The band reprises “Alright” from their debut album, beefing up the attack and giving Junceau a chance to shine in the extended middle section.  They play this one with such energy that you’d guess they recorded it fresh after writing it but instead it’s been a staple of their live performance for a few years now.  This passion is the quality that makes Mighty Short Bus such an engaging live band.  They offer a taste of this on Rogue Nation as well, closing the disc with a live take of the track that opens it, “Fire,” proving that what you hear on a studio disc is exactly what you can expect to hear live.

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About the author

Rick Tvedt

Rick is publisher of Local Sounds Magazine, formerly Rick's Cafe, Wisconsin's Regional Music Newspaper. He is also the Executive Director for MAMA, Inc., a non-profit organization that produces the Madison Area Music Awards and raises funds to promote youth music programs.

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