Machine Go Boom Thank You Captain Obvious

[Collectible Escalators; 2004]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: slop-pop, power-pop, manic bubblegum, lo-fi
Others: New Pornographers, Boyracer, Of Montreal

Cleveland's Machine Go Boom is one of the area's standard bearers in the grown-dude (and chick) rock scene. The group is fronted by one Mikey Machine, an enthusiastic 30-something (I hope I'm forgiven if Mikey happens to be on the other side of three-oh), who plays guitar and shrieks his goofy, wild pop songs. On Thank You Captain Obvious, Mikey and co. provide a collection of rough-around-the-edges (think a slightly more produced Boyracer) screamers and a few requisite soft acoustic tunes. The album may prove a bit too saccharine for some, and Mikey's excited yelp tends to become androgenously nasal in places, but for a group that thus far have garnered little more than a decent following at the local level, Machine Go Boom are extraordinarily good.

If, like me, you've grown a bit disenchanted with fashion-dance-rock, with its requisite new-wave haircuts, and have been embracing records from the indie pop-rock stable (Ted Leo -- for whom MGB has opened, A.C. Newman & the New Pornographers, and Of Montreal) simply because they feel like breaths of fresh air, perk up your ears. Machine Go Boom's energy and unpretentiousness, not to mention Mikey's knack for writing a catchy a pop hook and willingness to shriek out "la-la-la" whenever necessary, are plenty charming. Naysay if you must about the titular instrument of "The Kazoo Star," but the song built around it is, like the rest of the album, so fucking likable that one can hardly argue with the results. MGB throw everything they've got into Thank You Captain Obvious, and props are the least one can offer.

1. Lil Devil
2. Captain Obvious
3. What my Buddy Said
4. Hot Potato
5. Ms. Hepburn's House
6. The Punchline Song
7. Hail to the King
8. Kamikazi Plane
9. The Kazoo Star
10. The Raincoat Song
11. Scary Costume
12. Hold Me Down
13. Madeline Isn't Coming Home
14. This Song is a Secret