Album Reviews

  • The songs from this minialbum can be found on "Reversed" directed by canadian Vince D'Amato, but even more interesting is the fact that The Mugshots here worked with guitar player and arranger Dick Wagner, known for his theatrical work with Alice Cooper. And you can hear it in every pore of this material.
    Wagner's sense for macabre drama and symphonic strong and lound crescendos unite forces with The Mugshots' dark, melodic Rock in an appealing way. Unfortunately, the newer songs are far better composed and arranged than the classic "Under My Skin" and "Pass The Gun Around" - the latter coming from possibly the less known Alice Cooper's recording - at least the famous Cooper/Wagner duo is here pleasantly represented.
    A collaboration I wish could be resumed.
  • THE MUGSHOTS is an Italian group, formed in 2001 in New York by Mickey E-VIL, strongly inspired by the work of the old Alice Cooper. Yet, it it only in 2005 that the first LP sees the light of day ( 'House Of The Weirdos' ),followed by 'Weird Theater' (2007), and then by two EP: 'Doctor Is Out' in 2009 (sic!) and 'In Disguise"', edited in limited... release in 2010. The concept of these different albums is based on stories of crime, the look is close to that of horror movies: just take a small tour on their site to be persuaded.
    The release of 'Lost, Lust And Revenge', new EP of 5 titles lasting less than 28 min, does not derogate from the rule: the packaging, very successful in sticking in the mind, reveales a pouch representing the newspaper headline about a crime scene ... they are not called MUGSHOTS by chance (the mug shots being the photos of identity used by the police, or the people photographed holding a signboard with a number ... if you know what I mean). Musically, the group has engaged the services of Dick WAGNER, the shows producer of 'prima donnas' such as Lou Reed, KISS, Peter Gabriel, Aerosmith or Alice Cooper, who beyond the work of arrangements on 'Lost, Lust And Revenge', is going to hold the lead guitar. The result is unstoppable: brilliant production, perfect sound quality showing a balanced recording, clean - in short, very 'professional' - throughout this mini album the first notes of 'Nothing At All', tell us that we are leaving for a new and exciting journey into the world of progressive: a sweet piano introduction, a few notes of lunar guitar, a voice that is strangely reminiscent of that of Simone ROSSETTI (therefore, by ricochet to Peter Gabriel - even if the stamp is closest to that of the transalpine singer). In short, all the ingredients are gathered together to propose to the listener an exercise worthy of those of their fellow Italians of THE WATCH.
    This is confirmed by the excellent 'Under My Skin' and its first notes in the legacy of 'The Bogus man' of ROXY MUSIC - back then at the top of their art, with the live album 'Viva! Roxy Music'. But nevertheless a title more in the legacy of Phil Collins's Genesis, enclosed in a structure 'verse-chorus' - necessarily less prog - but damn efficient! 'Curse The Moon' comes as a breathing quiet - too quiet for a mini album? - It passes through a 'romantic' guitar letting us even think about a Gary Moore of quiet moments ... in short, a little 'marshmallow' to my taste ... On the other hand, we leave the world of progressive with 'Free As I am', despite a guitar intro which reminds that of Mike Rutherford on 'We Can't Dance'. But after two minutes, it switches into a rock very close to Lou Reed, then carrying obvious influences by T-Rex, and to a lesser degree, we can recognize a few plans used by their friends, THE STRANGLERS. The final is dazzling and worthy of a JOE COCKER singing at Woodstock. Very psychedelic '69 choirs give this title a diversity which in fact bring it to be the more successful tune of this mini-album. We don't leave the early 70's with the last title 'Pass The Gun Around', thanks to the intonations of a David Bowie between 'Space Oddity' and 'Ziggy Stardust'. The David GILMOUR's guitaristque take-off gradually bring us back to a more recent period.
    All in all, a very good surprise, which will delight fans of a music which derives from the Seventies, whether being the progressive side with the GENESIS of Peter Gabriel, or other more rock sources - with a modern touch given by the ultra-efficient production of a Dick WAGNER. And knowing the ridiculous price you see on some sites, it would be a shame to pass this EP by, considering its many influences.
  • Nuovo EP per i nostrani The Mugshots, definiti come una "dark rock band" e caratterizzati da liriche che hanno come tema principale gli omicidi. Il disco si apre con Nothing At All, una ballad che richiama le sonorità anni '70, sonorità che sono presenti anche nella successiva Under My Skin. A spezzare questa monotonia arriva la tetra Curse The Moon, sicuramente uno dei pezzi più interessanti di questo lavoro. Free (As I Am) vede la collaborazione di Dick Wagner che si cimenta in un piacevole duetto vocale con Mickey Evil, per il resto è un brano piuttosto scontato. Chiude il disco Pass The Gun Around dotata di un refrain magico e di un ottimo assolo, forse il picco più alto raggiunto dalla tracklist. 

    Per concludere, questo non è un EP particolarmente brillante che però riesce a "salvarsi" grazie a due brani di gran classe (Curse The Moon e soprattutto Pass The Gun Around). Se amate questa band o questo tipo di musica è comunque un disco che potete considerare.
  • Another European act that caught FabricationsHQ’s ear in 2013 was Italian band The Mugshots.
    On their Love, Lust and Revenge five track EP the band honed a very deliberate and distinct sound with an Alice Cooper ...Band feel and appeal – and we’re talking early era band and material; dark, sinister, theatrical but with plenty of musical interest and some simple but effective piano underpinning three of the five songs.
    Dick Wagner (Lou Reed, Alice Cooper) played on, arranged and produced the songs; in providing the latter service The Mugshots earned the distinction of becoming the first European band to be produced by the legendary American guitarist.
    ’Curse the Moon’ may well be the highlight of the four originals while ‘Free (As I Am)’ is a number that wouldn’t be out of place on early Alice Cooper Band albums.
    As a final tip of the top hat to Cooper there's a nice cover of the under heard/ hidden gem ‘Pass the Gun Around,’ the excellent Cooper/ Wagner penned number that closes out Cooper's 1983 album, Dada.
  • Interesting band. We talked about the second album by these italians ("Weird Theater") in an old issue back in 2007 and back then the boys were doing, musically speaking, exactly what bands such as The Devil's Blood and Ghost are celebrated for nowadays: melanchonic metal with high-tone singing, inspired by the strenght of Mercyful Fate.
    With the present 10-inches EP (red vinyl with an original comic included) the boys, however, have gone farther. Blue Oyster Cult meet The Stranglers would be a spontaneus comparison: dark and atmospheric rock songs accompained by keyboards, easy and beautiful to hear. Rock fans and vinyl collectors should simply listen to this 4-songs disc. We look forward for the next full-lenght album!
  • Here is a nice surprise. The truth is that we do not know much about The Mugshots, apart from the fact that they are Americans with Italian origins and that the EP sees the participation of legendary Dick Wagner (Lou Reed, Kiss, Peter Gabriel, Aerosmith) on piano and lead guitars. This is why the compositions of Mickey E. Vil sound so old fashioned. "Love, Lust & Revenge" mainly consists of 70's Progressive Rock nature tracks with psychedelic brushstrokes. Something like a combination between Alice Cooper' gold days and Marillion second phase, let's say. Peculiar is for instance the beginning, with "Nothing at all". In this 5-track EP is dominating a semi-ballad climate with the keys playing the main character. Good ideas are "Curse The Moon" and "Free (As I Am) ", which come blending with the very good voice of Mickey probably playing a more supportive role because of the music primacy. Let's deepen the Mugshots' knowledge, a band which on the first meeting did not disappoint us.
  • What initially surprised me was that, in spite of being a Horror-Rock outfit with Punk-Rock affinities, The Mugshots produces music that is melodic, catchy, and with elaborated arrangements. The opening song, “Nothing At All” (6:13), has cl...assical pianos, expressive vocals, melodic guitars and progressive bass, and recalls much more a song of “Marillion” with “Fish” then what would be expected from a regular Horror-Punk or Alternative Rock band. The following song, “Under My Skin” (5:02), is driven by a pulsing rock beat on bass and drums, and vocals with a tone that recalls “Alice Cooper” or “The Misfits”. “Curse The Moon” (5:34) is also introduced by poignant pianos, low-toned bass, and brings more drama and heaviness on guitars – overall, it is story-telling, more like the infamous ballads of “Alice Cooper” and “Ozzy Osbourne”. “Free (As I Am)” (5:31) has a swinging guitar riff accompanied by discrete gothic organs – and a vocal tune that also reminds me of “Lou Reed”, with a rhythm n’ blues choir. The simplicity of the arrangements may be appealing for listeners that like something more popish and danceable. The EP ends with a cover of “Pass The Gun Around” (5:18) (by “Alice Cooper” & “Dick Wagner”), which makes justice to the original song, being however adorned with soft harmony vocals and soaring progressive guitars. Not a Progressive act for the most orthodox standards, The Mugshots, with the supportive help of their godfather Dick Wagner, has created a pleasant, melodic, and well-produced record, which may find an audience among fans of “Alice Cooper”, “The Misfits”, and even “Marillion”, “David Bowie”, “Queen”, and “Lou Reed”.
  • This Italian band is not to be confused with the Canadian pop punk Mugshot, there are a couple of interesting facts about The Mugshots that caught my attention like their new EP is produced by legendary guitarplayer... Dick Wagner (Alice Cooper). Dick also played the lead guitar on "Love, lust and revenge".
    They have shared the stage with The Stranglers, one of my favorite bands.
    So there was really nothing to discuss here and just hop on the music straight away, and it´s not everyday you get to hear a new release that sounds like it could´ve been recorded back in 1975.
    "Love, lust and revenge" bring thoughts to Alice Cooper´s "Welcome to my nightmare" album, Mott The Hoople and The Spiders from Mars. I really like their songstructures, especially "Under my skin" and "Curse the moon" but also "Free (as I am) are solid and epic soundscapes.
    The only thing missing is perhaps one or two more upbeat tracks.
  • I would argue that some of Alice Cooper’s music leaned towards progressive rock. I’d also argue that this outfit are prog rock. Why did I mention Alice Cooper? Because these guys are clearly influenced by Cooper. They even cover a lesser known Cooper song as the closing cut here. You can’t really deny the progressive rock elements at work here, though. The opening tune, in particular is quite proggy. There are other moments where this feels like a cross between Cooper and Fish era Marillion.
    Nothing At All
    Melodic progressive rock leads out here and a fusion-like guitar soars over the top. As the vocals join, they feel a bit psychedelic in nature. This gets pretty intense as it carries forward. It’s quite a cool modern melodic prog piece with plenty of influences from old school progressive rock. The piano solo section is quite a nice touch. As the vocals join from there I’m reminded quite a bit of Fish era Marillion. The piece grows out from there into a harder rocking jam that’s still quite melodic.
    Under My Skin
    Imagine a melding of Marillion with Welcome to My Nightmare era Alice Cooper. It’s likely to sound a lot like this.
    Curse the Moon
    Somehow I can still make out hints of Alice Cooper on this one, too. That said, this rocker is pure progressive rock, but with a lot of killer guitar. It’s got a pretty accessible vocal hook and many layers of guitar. The sound of this band is unique and great. This piece is just one example of that. There is a cool piano driven movement later in the tune, too.
    Free (As I Am)
    They open this with a pretty straightforward hard rocking jam. After a while, though, it shifts towards something like a proggy Who. The later sections include a very accessible vocal hook. They even drop it to just vocals for a time. Somehow I can even make out a little Tom Petty on this thing.
    Pass the Gun Around
    I’ve always liked the original version of this. It always has had a little bit of a prog edge to my ears. This one is pretty true to that version, but the progressive rock vibe is more prominent. There’s an instrumental section that really brings that home, too.
  • The cd title and the cd case let us think about a dingy road movie by Quentin Tarantino with the music of Alice Cooper as the soundtrack. With the latter you're not far from the truth because this Italian band approaches, on the EP "Love, Lust and Revenge", our favourite spook damn close.
    Not only because they cover an Alice Cooper song but mainly because they have hired Cooper's producer, Dick Wagner, who is also writing a tune. This is not so much the bombastic, it's rather the more song-oriented Alice Cooper and they deliver five beautiful songs.
    No, it's not Prog but it's good music, for late at night if you, Alice, no longer dare to stay up but yet you do not want to go to sleep.
    () BEGINNING 2014 - translated from dutch
  • Da dove saltano fuori questi? E dire che la copertina in stile Thick As Brick poco m’attirava. E dire che la foto dei cinque virgulti ammaccati all’interno di una macchina, m’aveva fatto pensare a Una Notte Da Leoni! E invece, eccomi tra le mani un cd eccezionale, tanto bello quanto semplice. Ma di quel semplice, che poi tanto semplice non è! Quelle che all’apparenza hanno sembianze di innocue canzoncine, si rivelano qualcosa di più. Durante l’ascolto mi sono trovato a snocciolare il rosario delle influenze: toh, qua sento i GenesisbarraMarillion, qui Alice Cooper (beh, il monicker scelto parla chiaro). No anzi sono rock and roll, non è forse Elvis questo? Sì, sì, sì. Perché i Mugshots sono tutti questo, e lo sono in modo omogeneo. Non zompetti da un brano all’altro sentendoti sballottato tra le influenze, c’è una sorta di coerenza tra le singole canzoni che rende tutto credibile e appetibile. E’ come se la band masticasse 60 anni di rock and roll, per poi passarci un bolo facile facile da digerire. A dare una mano alla band ha pensato Dick Wagner (già chitarrista di chitarrista di Lou Reed e Alice Cooper e collaboratore di Peter Gabriel, Ray Manzarek, Kiss, Aerosmith, Meat Loaf), che non solo si è seduto dietro la consolle per produrre il disco, ma ha anche arrangiato e suonato i cinque brani presenti su questo Ep. Ma Dick non è l’unico padrino dei nostri connazionali, infatti nel booklet appaiono anche le referenze firmate da Clive Jones (Black Widow), Matt Malley (Counting Crows). Un album dal respiro internazionale, che conferma la regoletta che nessono è profeta in patria (il combo ha maturato una certa esperienza negli USA). Spero che questo Ep possa scardinare anche le porte del mercato nazionale a questi ragazzi, che si sono dimostrati una delle realtà più fresche, interessanti e divertenti dell’asfittica scena italiana.
    Voto: 8/10
  • Terzo lavoro per la band bresciana, prodotto da Dick Wagner (Alice Cooper, Lou Reed) ma assoluta novità per il sottoscritto. A dispetto del look da tenebrosi ragazzacci di strada, i ragazzi costruiscono un sound assai composito,ma personalissimo nel suo divenire proprio perché le molteplici influenze palesate, sono sapientemente dosate e amalgamate grazie anche all’innegabile bravura esecutiva.

    L’iniziale “Nothing At All” pur permeata da un soffice flavour prog a là Genesis,le vocals di Mickey E.Vil e il bellissimo inciso di piano di  Erik Stayn ne sono testimonianza, si fregia di input trasversali che chiamano in causa sia  le impennate new wave degli ormai dimenticati Stranglers, che il rock teatrale e sornione di David Bowie nume tutelare pure nella seguente e più sanguigna  “Under My Skin”, pregna comunque delle drammatiche atmosfere dell’Alice Cooper di “Killer” e “Love It to Death”. Ancora un malinconico piano sorregge e guida un solo guitar da brividi che prelude e caratterizza la struggente “Curse The Moon” dark rock ballad che assomma in sé tutto lo scibile musicale del gruppo. Davvero un grande brano che prelude all’irrompere dello psicotico hard rock di “Free” con lo stesso Wagner alle vocals. La conclusiva “Pass The Gun Around” è una rock ballad composta dal duo Wagner/Cooper, che il gruppo comunque rende propria grazie al retrogusto prog che la pervade.Insomma,davvero difficile rendere a parole questi 30 minuti di musica e proprio per questo, pur non gridando al miracolo, ne consiglio all’ascolto.  

  • Gli horror rockers bresciani The Mugshots, dopo diverse uscite, sono ormai una garanzia per chi ama certe sonorità che attingono da mostri sacri quali Alice Cooper, Joy Division, Marillion e Misfits.

    Questo Ep di cinque brani, dove svetta la strepitosa ballad Nothing At All (che meriterebbe una visibilità mondiale) farà la gioia di tutti quelli che cercano nella musica il feeling autentico più che l'irruenza o la velocità.

    Loro lo definiscono Elitarian Undead Rock e se li seguirete dal vivo capirete cosa significa.


  • I The Mugshots sono una formazione dalla doppia origine. Nati in America e popolata da musicisti d’oltreoceano (contribuisce al sound della band anche di Dick Wagner, noto producer) sono stati fondamentalmente adottati da noi italiani. La stessa etichetta che ha prodotto l’ultimo loro capitolo discografico è l’italianissima Alka Record Label, ma la proposta dei nostri è tutt’altro che tipicamente italiana. Non aspettatevi rock diretto, così come l’artwork fa immaginare: già l’opener Nothing At All spiazza completamente, le sue tastiere ricordano certo progressive rock settantiano che poi sfocia in un art-rock più maturo (Marillion?!) lasciando un alone di inconsistenza ad un orecchio superficiale. Dimenticate riff e puro arrivismo: sono le ambientazioni e le melodie di tastiere che reggono il gioco. Sulla base di questa matrice si costruiscono armonie nostalgiche e stilosi passaggi romantici che saccheggiano molti degli insegnamenti della scena psichedelica del passato e ne conferiscono un animo quasi da musical (un pò forte come concetto data la lunghezza esigua dell’album che non raggiunge i 30 minuti, ma rende bene l’idea). Tracce tutt’altro che dirette né brevi (nessuna sotto i cinque minuti), segno di una certa ricercatezza stilistica che però non introduce vere e proprie innovazioni musicali ma rivisita un certo concept di rock di un’altra epoca aggraziandolo con una produzione di un certo livello.
    Con Free (As I Am) la chitarra prende il sopravvento ma manca (per scelta) quella dose di groove (o di puro prog) che trascinerebbe l’intero brano e smuoverebbe gli animi; a metà corsa il sound diventa davvero troppo morbido e sfuma l’occasione di dare passione al brano, di esplodere in una verve che solo l’irriducibile rock è in grado di produrre. Con Pass The Gun Around la musica nel suo concetto trasversale conquista la scena, completamente influenzata dalle innumerevoli lezioni di David Bowie. Buona musica da colonna sonora o da sfondo per un musical. Niente di più.
  • Half a year before this, The Mugshots did release their first two albums and very quickly we cheered the new EP release. On vinyl. Red. Fetish. First of all we have to remember that The Mugshots were born ten years ago in order to give life to a horror punk rock sound. All of this was followed by a certain image and theatrical performance which completed the whole story. It's up to you to imagine how it can look like. A sound ...which sounds to me more interesting, I have to admit, than the first two albums. This EP is something, hmmm, not commercial, and certainly more peaceful, listenable. The albums had somehow a darker atmosphere. Although if you look at the lyrics, the themes are not even a little bit brighter.
    It is interesting to me that this EP contains a comic made ​​specifically for this occasion, for the song that opens the record, "In Disguise". The last song is a cover song: "I surrender" by The Adverts.
    This is the work of a band which had the opportunity to gain positive comments from the likes of The Damned, UK Subs, The Stranglers; and you, after all of this, should notice the recommendation to