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The Mr. T. Experience
YESTERDAY RULES
(Lookout!)
Stars graphics

There was a time when the Mr. T Experience were just another hack pop-punk band, though they had their moments (1996ís Love Is Dead comes to mind), and they came up with a couple of classic novelty punk numbers in "Alternative Is Here To Stay" and "Even Hitler Had a Girlfriend." They seemed to have summed up their position in the song "Dumb Little Band," in which they described a less-than-successful career: "We do a record every year/That nobodyís gonna hear/Or understand/Dumb little band/Not exactly in demand."

But with Yesterday Rules, their 12th record, singer/songwriter Dr. Frank (Frank Portman) has taken his crew in a more mature direction, leaving the once fashionable, now tired East Bay pop-punk formula mostly behind in favor of lushly conceived and produced pop songs with more than a little of Brian Wilsonís Beach Boys in them. Lilting melodies, chimes, vocal harmonies, and all the sonic touches that go into a well-constructed pop song are on display. Yet thereís punk in "Fucked Up on Life," which has a Billy Bragg/Shane MacGowan quality. "Sorry for Freaking Out on the Phone Last Night" is one of several sensitive-guy tunes that soar on the strength of some nifty lead guitar. And "London," a genuine pop single with its teary-eyed acoustic opening and swelling keyboards, might find a place on the radio in a more perfect world, if only Dr. Frank had a more palatable voice.

BY ADAM BREGMAN


Issue Date: January 23 - 29, 2004
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