"City Folk"

(Omega Point Records 2003)Mystechs - City Folk

With photos of Mystechs Emil Hyde and Nick Dye in Kiss-like make-up in front of an old barn and a rusted car on their newest album, "City Folk," it almost seems like they are taking a page from Ween's book and doing a country inspired album. Do not be fooled, "City Folk," like the band's last album, 2002's "Showtime at the Apocalypse," is a mesh of electronic and rock with a fair amount of humor. This time, however, the band has a more focused sound that catches your attention.

Offering just the right mix of humor and seriousness, opening track "Gyroscope" is a mid tempo light country ballad. That gentle atmosphere is broken by the straight forward rapping verses heard on "This Is All There Is." More traditional sounding, "Good Gone Bad" is made up of mid tempo pulses while "Roman P" uses an accordion and a full chorus of singers. "Are you free? Are you really free? Are you really, really, really, really free?" the crowd sings during the chorus of "Roman P." Few bands could get away with lyrics like that but it seems to fit in place for the Mystechs. The edgier "Cannibal Feast" uses electric guitar riffs and lightning bolt sound effects to create their own metal sound for the track before returning to the slower piano driven "I'd Rather Be Japanese."

"Something about it all didn't feel right but I kept my storm clouds to myself. Party on, party people, party on," Dye sings seriously in a Broadway musical-like interlude, complete with applause for his solo, on the otherwise funky sounding "Nineteen Hundred Ninety Nine." Showing an electro-industrial side, "Longlegs" stands out as different and engaging as you listen to the story told. Blending their electronics with piano again, the straightforward delivery of "Burger Boy" is catchy and fun which adds to the track's strength. Reprising their "musical," "On Some Far Away Beach" is serious with soft instrumentation and a choir of voices before they end the album with "A Beautiful World," a thoughtful and strong closing.

The feeling that the Mystechs have matured since their last album is nearly unavoidable. Lyrically, the band continues mocking stereotypes but also offer more depth, focus and variety, both lyrically and instrumentally. The Mystechs know how to show you a good time, without coming off as jokers all the time. Or are they joking? Sometimes, it is hard to tell.