Front of the Hit Parade?

Front of the Parade (Label X/Madacy)

The Muckrakers

By Kory Wilcoxson

For faithful followers of the local band The Muckrakers, Front of the Parade is the rewarding payoff for a long wait. The band has made a name for itself on the Louisville scene with a plethora of catchy tunes and energetic live shows, but for a number of reasons had yet to convert that mojo into a wide CD release.

Parade more than does the trick. It's mojo-rific, capturing the band's sound without confining it. The band has been favorably and accurately compared to early Barenaked Ladies, but it's more of an homage than an imitation. Both bands thrive on acoustic guitars and keen pop sensibilities; for example, the Muckrakers' "Wake Up" instantly calls to mind BNL's "Shoebox."

But enough about naked ladies (well, at least the band). The Muckrakers also call to mind local faves Digby, which is not so much a coincidence because the bands are buddy-buddy and share a label. The label even came up with a slick cross-marketing idea - Digby's Falling Up features a Muckrakers song at the end, while Parade responds in kind, complete with an introduction by lead vocalist Rob Carpenter. Gotta love reciprocity.

Parade is simply stellar, a piece of pop cheesecake that sticks with you in all the right places. The sound is mostly pop, with a twangy guitar riff or prominent bassline thrown in to keep things lively. The band even morphs into the Funkmakers on "When the Morning Comes," including a guest rap from a member of labelmate Code Red. Such a changeup might sound gimmicky for other bands, but like most everything on Parade, it seems to fit snugly with the band's developing persona.

The band's first single is "Through My Door," and once you've heard it, I triple-dog dare you to stop singing it. Hopefully it will be the first of many singles from this album that find a wider audience and you'll be able to sit back and say, "Hey, I read a review of that band in LMN before they made it big."

Dig more of the Muckrakers' scene at www.themuckrakers.com.