Imperial Comet Hour
Mexico 70 (Big Pop)

By Tim Roberts

The band is from Windsor, England. They recorded the release in a studio on a farm in Saline, Michigan. It was mastered in Arizona. From such scattered origins, it all comes together in 14 tracks of clean, tight, energetic rock. It is Imperial Comet Hour, the second release from Mexico 70 on the Philadelphia-based Big Pop label. The band is not too well-known just yet, but that may change with Imperial.

The selections on Imperial – all but one written by frontman Mick Bund and arranged by the whole band – are evenly balanced: melodic to driving, acoustic to heavy electric, relaxing to frenetic, while all the time maintaining a consistent purity and simplicity in their sound. Mexico 70's work may remind listeners of the best from bands like The Smithereens and early work from The Jam. Bund has penned some smart lyrics, too, without sounding too cynical or sappy.

The first three tracks, "Every Hour," "I Want You," and "Till You've Spoken" are perfect examples of the balance this band has, from the burst of power from the first track, to the slower, acoustic-driven "Spoken."

One of the more outstanding spots on the recording is a song Bund didn't write. "It'll Never Happen Again," the mantra often heard from philandering spouses, combines a relaxing acoustic sound layered with heartbreaking, guilt-ridden lyrics. The man in the song asks his woman why she can't be all the women he wants her to be, then makes his demand: "You've got to change to love me." Bund makes it sound plaintive without being whiny.

"Road Movie" is another lyrically-interesting track. The song is about escaping Kerouac-style, hitting the road with nothing but hopes and dreams. It is all unrealized, though, because you end up drunk and stoned. But you "sleep outside. . .till it feels like we've done / what we came here to do. . .get reborn." And that's as close to escape as you may ever get.

What makes a band worth listening to? The answers obviously vary with individual tastes. But a common answer is quality, variety, and consistency. With its balance of high production values, sound, styles, and lyrical savvy, Mexico 70's Imperial Comet Hour is a thoughtful work by a band worth listening to. And one we should be hearing more from.