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Posted on June 7th, 2011 (12:00 pm) by Joseph Weathered

While the name Chain Gang of 1974 implies a dose of Stooges-inspired punk rock, in reality the "Gang" are a quirky mix of '80s pop, art rock and new wave. But the Gang is not a gang at all -- '74 consists of a singe human being, multi-instrumentalist Kamtin Mohager.

In Wayward Fire, Mohager seems to seek a balance between his equal parts of weird darkness and background calmness. The album goes all over the place. "Stop" literally sounds like a hit single from 1985; it could be on a soundtrack along side Tears for Fears (cited as a musical influence) in a movie starring Kirk Cameron about him being a teenager, who is popular with the girls but awkward with how to deal with that. On the flip-side, "Devil is a Lady" veers between a disco beat and a Depeche Mode mood and tempo.

"The emotion isn't in just the vocals and lyrics. It's in the songwriting itself" says Mohager, and he's certainly correct especially when it comes to his output. Its pretty hard to characterize the music; I could go and do a genre-describing line but it would be a paragraph long. In fact, let's try and describe it in one small line: Chain Gang is a cassette Walkman+Eddie Murphy's red leather outfit ala Delirious, over the top while remaining accessible. Go and get it if you want to aimlessly jump around, but don't get annoyed when the catchiness of these songs ("Hold On" especially) ends up being used in adverts for cars and electronics.

Track List:
1. Stop
2. Devil is a Lady
3. Hold On
4. Heartbreakin' Scream
5. Taste of Heaven
6. Matter of Time
7. Undercover
8. Teenagers
9. Ethical Drugs
10. Tell Me
11. Don't Walk Away

The Chain Gang of 1974: Wayward Fire
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

61 / 100
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