The M’s, ‘Real Close Ones’

By • Apr 14th, 2008 • Category: Album Reviews

There’s something naïve about The M’s, even three albums into the band’s catalog. It’s this unabashed hopefulness that gives the Chicago quartet its warmth, its starry-eyed pleasantry that other 1960s revivalists lack.

The mid-60s were a magical time for contemporary rock’n’roll, and Real Close Ones is the closest that these four Midwesterners have come to recapturing the essence and inexperience of that era. It was a time that bands such as The Beatles, The Kinks and The Rolling Stones were leaving the boogie woogie blues behind, but not quite ready to abandoned their R&B undertones completely. It was a moment when musicians first thought that there might be studio sounds they’d never heard before, and a time when fans had built up a loyalty that allowed for experimental growing pains. The music was confident, but not yet arrogant. It was wild, but not reckless. It was developing a voice but wasn’t aware that it soon would speak to – and for – a generation.

It was a golden age when an entire art form grew up on radio dials around the globe, without a precedent or songbook to follow. It was genuine, as well as genuinely great.

It’s this era that so many 60s revivalists forget, opting to cop the end and not the means, as they delve into their own takes on the cynicism of that decade’s latter-year protest songs or drug-fueled trickery. While countless acts pay homage to what those British Invasion bands would become, The M’s remember how their predecessors got there. By embracing both psychedelic tendencies and fundamental pop structures, Real Close Ones recalls a cautiously exuberant era.

From the anticipatory “Trying to Keep” to the wistful “Day in the Sun,” the foursome barrels through track after throwback track reminiscent of a time when rock’s forefathers realized that there was life beyond the doors of dingy pubs, but before they discovered that the outside world was a turbulent and violent place.

Soundcheck Magazine, April 2008

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