Saturday, November 19, 2011

Dom Mariani - Popsided Guitar: Anthology 1984-2004 (2005)

This two disc anthology certainly makes the case that Dom Mariani is one of the most unjustly ignored rockers of the past two decades. He's been the main songwriter/singer/ guitarist for (by my count) six different bands in that time, three of which are responsible for stone cold classics (the Stems' debut At First Light... Violets Are Blue, the Someloves' only full-length Something Or Other, and the DM3's Road To Rome and One Time Two Times Three Red Light). Of course, none of of those albums have made the tiniest ripple in North American charts, so I can only hope Mariani sells truckloads in his native Australia. After all, there's gotta be some kind of justice in this world, doesn't there?

One thing that's immediately impressive throughout the entirety of this set is Mariani's consistency. Whether in the context of the garage/psyche revivalism of the Stems, or the sweet pop of the Someloves, or the more muscular power pop of the DM3, his emphasis is always on indelible hooks. He's also an ace guitarist, as evidenced by the blistering solo at the end of the DM3's "One Times Two Times Devastated" as well as the three instrumental tracks by the Majestic Kelp (on which Mariani sounds like the direct descendant of the Ventures and the Raybeats). And to give a little hope for Mariani's future, his most recent combo the Stoneage Hearts clock in with the pounding "Rock And Roll Boys (Rock And Roll Girls)", which zips by at a Ramones-like pace while Mariani sings lines like "I wanna hang with Mick and Keith, and play my guitar with my teeth."

It's almost hard to believe that someone so good can be ignored for so long. If you're a fan of Big Star, Badfinger, the Hoodoo Gurus - or any ultra-melodic pop/punk band of the last twenty years - then this collection is guaranteed to amaze you.

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