Mental Anguish & Nomuzic - "Po Boyz With Gobot War Toyz" (Harsh Reality 2000, HRC001)

From Aural Innovations #13 (October 2000)

"Po Boyz With Gobot War Toyz" is a CDR compilation of tracks from three cassettes recorded and released by Mental Anguish (Chris Phinney) and Nomuzic (Carl Howard) between 1987-1989. Across the disc's 11 tracks we hear thumping space rock, cosmic space electronica, and even some head boppin' and toe tappin' tunes that border on pop.

Songs like "Two" and "Eight" feature cool electronica that also have a bit of a dance beat. "Two" is a freaky electro dance tune. Not techno, but a percussion beat that makes it danceable is backed by spacey backdrops and bouncy melody lines. "Eight" has a dark and haunting, yet dreamy backdrop led by more danceable percussion beats. Again, there's lots of freaky stuff backing the dance bits. Very cool.

On the more drifting space side is "Four", a dreamy melodic tune accompanied by a mechanical repetitive synth line which contrasts in mood with the more floating keyboards. An interesting combo. "Arliss' Country Kitchen" is similar, only there seems to be quite a bit more going on musically. Dreamy atomospherics combined with cool oddball synth noodlings. Sort of a pop instrumental but high on the freaky meter when you listen closely to all the background happenings. "Look Ma, No Software" is a strong track that features classic space electronica recalling 70's Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schultz, and other related artists. The primary synth line moves along at a rapid clip while numerous other synths play their parts at varied speeds. An interesting contrast of both rhythm and sounds.

My hands down favorite tracks on the disc are "Pigs In The Barnyard" and "Jumpin' Off The Point". "Pigs In the Barnyard" kicks off with some heavy, slowly driving spacerock like Hawkwind or Krel (or Thru Black Holes Band Carl!). Slow but blistering guitar licks lead the tune while equally potent space synths provide the cosmic wall of fire that backs it up. Simple, no flash, but a powerful statement nonetheless. "Jumpin' Off The Point" is a kick ass rocker with a catchy melody line, screaming guitar, and space synth madness. Bubble, gurgle, whooooosh! I'll call it space jam rock n roll. These two alone are worth the price of admission, and make me want to check out the original three cassettes this duo produced.

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

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