Album Review
Mustard Plug
Label: Hopeless Records
  • 5/5
Reviewed by ChrisK
Sixteen years in "band years" is basically forever. Or at least, that's how long it seems like Michigan-based Mustard Plug has been in existence. But like a fine wine, aged cheese or a vintage ride, the pioneering ska-punk sextet has fully matured into a limitless musical machine - all the while maintaining the respect and admiration from its peers and fans that have long supported them.

"In Black and White" is thought to be a return to form of sorts, as Mustard Plug recently headed back to the famed Blasting Room recording studio in Fort Collins, Colo. to work with veteran punk producer Bill Stevenson - the same studio location and producer of the band's wildly successful 1997 full-length Evildoers Beware.

While In Black And White's title may nod to technology of the past, take one spin of the new album, and you'll instantly notice a record that's as colorful and current as ever, crammed full of ear-grasping melodies, thanks in large part to the band's strong songwriting capabilities.

Launching with the band's time honored guitar-propelled ska-punk twist of "Who Benefits?," In Black And White makes good on delivering an aural assault by bar chords, bass lines and brass ensembles. "Time To Wake Up" is one of the album's most explosive cuts sporting bold shout choruses, instantly juxtaposed by the syrupy pop-punk melodies of "Something New." And though "You Can't Go Back" clocks in at a mere 48 seconds, it offers a poignant musical viewpoint, all the while without sacrificing the integrity of what's become standard fare Mustard Plug.

With an impressively loyal fanbase that consistently asks for more, a touring resume that comprises of hundreds of thousands of miles and countless venues both domestically and internationally, not to mention the bands Mustard Plug has shared bills with (from Fall Out Boy to Rancid to Helmet and even Weird Al Yankovic!), In Black And White offers a band whose exhaustive history practically guarantees excellence. And that's a hard offer to deny.

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