1. Always, Always, Always
2. KFC Called The Police On Me
3. Who Gave What To Who?
4. Shell Of A Man
5. I’m Lost
6. I Couldn’t Say No
7. Fresh Chicken, Straight From The Trash
8. Spy Wail
9. Spontaneous Combust
10. Breakfast Taters
11. Fuck You, Me
12. Free Range Man
13. Tipi Tapa
14. Waste Of Space
Let me start by saying I had never heard anything by MFC Chicken, and, when I scrolled the song titles, I thought this should at least be interesting. I then read the description noting ‘saxophonic alchemy’ and could not get it playing fast enough. This is their 5th album with their debut dating back to 2012. It’s the type of Rock n Roll album that rejuvenates your soul and guarantees some smiles will be put on your face.
With a healthy dose of the beginning of Rock n Roll and a dollop of the Nuggets sound, ‘Always, Always, Always’ gets the party started with a huge hook and a beat that will make you move. The riff from the sax is awesome and the guitar solo dances and weaves out of the speaker. I was engrossed in the album before this one ended on my first listen, and it barely crosses the two minute mark. They then transition into the humorously titled ‘KFC Called The Police On Me.’ The call and response chorus gets the song started, and I have to laugh because of the number of times I went to a specific KFC who also never had chicken. Ravi Low-Beer (drums) and Zig Criscuolo (bass) make a dynamite rhythm section. The party continues with ‘Who Gave What To Who?’ where the band ensure your hips are shaking and pack it with a chorus you can immediately sing.
‘Shell Of A Man’ slides in on a quick guitar riff courtesy of Dan Criscuolo that reminds me of Southern Culture on the Skids. The background vocals at the end of the song remind me of having two different styles of singers within the band, and it works. There is repetition to plaster the words in your brain, but it doesn’t get stale. ‘I’m Lost’ features a guitar riff that reminds me of the Love Me Nots who borrowed it from the likes of the Sonics and Nuggets era bands. The sax work here is red hot by Al Zioli who sings all of these songs with the conviction of a man who knows he is right and being painted as the liar. The band leaps into their three minute epic ‘I Couldn’t Say No’ with the band channeling a sound that feels like it could be pumping out of a jukebox in a 1950’s diner. The narrative in the song is guaranteed to make you smile, especially with the female vocals in the song.
Not sure if there are many songs with titles like ‘Fresh Chicken, Straight From The Trash,’ I will tell you that this one features some more awesome sax work that gets me moving around the room like a man possessed. The call and response of ‘straight from the trash’ at the end is brilliant. Somewhere there is a b-movie that features a spy trying the best he can who gets the benefit of the instrumental ‘Spy Wail.’ Vocals would just plain ruin this one with the band simply on fire. Ironically, ‘Spontaneous Combust’ is next with some awesome piano in the back of the mix. The chorus is simple and really makes me want to see these guys live as I imagine the shows are incredible. They are not reinventing the wheel; they are delivering the goods.
‘Breakfast Taters’ was one of the songs that had me reaching for the repeat button on my first listen. The rhythm gets the body moving and serves as a great song to get you moving in the morning… although I do find myself craving bacon and pancakes after each listen. Put this one on at your next party and watch everyone start dancing. The self-loathing ‘Fuck You, Me’ is an up tempo ode to all that negative self-talk we can experience. The music creates a dichotomy though as it gets you moving, and you end up singing with a smile about your inadequacies. I have found it serves as a jump start to getting out of those bad thoughts. ‘Free Range Man’ serves as the other epic on the album at around three minutes. The bluesy shuffle suffers a bit for me due to how much I love the two previous songs, but this one has been a constant grower with the harmonica giving the song a different feel than everything else here.
Approaching the end of the album way too quickly, ‘Tipi Tapa’ settles into a groove that makes sure the bodies don’t stop moving with the combination of sax and guitar solo being electrifying. The vocals at the end throw away all subtlety to make sure that the hook stays deep in your memory. Closing out the album is ‘Waste Of Space’ which begins briefly with a 50’s era ballad before the song unwinds into a full speed rocker about love gone wrong. The realization that the album has ended gives you a brief moment to catch your breath and then start it all over again.
MFC Chicken have delivered an album of fun, dancing, singing, and celebrating everything this life throws at us. I would love to hear this one on vinyl but would really hear these songs bouncing off the wall of some dive bar. This becomes one of those albums that just always stick around in the rotation, before your know it, the album is five years old. Get yourself some MFC Chicken.
‘Fast Food and Broken Hearts’ is released March 27th.
Website - https://www.dirtywaterrecords.co.uk/mfcchicken
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/MFCChicken/
Review - Gerald Stansbury