Album Review

Mitch Easter - Dynamico

Mitch Easter - Dynamico

During Let's Active's mid-1980s heyday, critics dropped adjectives such as "winsome," "jangly" and "cute" to describe the band's music. Dynamico, Let's Active mastermind Mitch Easter's first album since the waning days of the Reagan administration, should inspire no such descriptors. While Easter still cranks out the hooks, catchy as ever, Dynamico is undeniably a rock album. Easter sets the tone right up front with "1 1/2 Way Street", which opens the album with a modified "Peter Gunn" guitar line. From there, it's one snarling riff after another, played with enough vigor to make you want to hold up a lit cigarette lighter. Easter plays and sings everything on the record save for cameos by Let's Active drummer Eric Marshall and bassist Shalini Chatterjee. The latter makes important vocal contributions with well-deployed harmonies that provide just the right sweetening. As a singer, Easter will never be mistaken for Jeff Buckley. But he has matured into a far more confident-sounding vocalist than he used to be. He's downright commanding on "Break Through", dressing down detractors real and imagined ("I can imagine the headlines, they never get close to the truth"). By the time he throws in some chiming, Byrdsy guitar on "Why Is It So Hard?", his rock bona fides are unimpeachable.