Album Review: The Mystery Men, ‘Musica Enmascarada’

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Never a judge a band by their gimmick, brother.

When a band comes out dressed in lucha libre masks and “hails from The Grimlak System” you’d automatically assume that this band is out to “work” an audience. The group is obviously just a live experience kind of thing that’s hilarious to watch but when it comes down to the brass tax their music comes secondary (think: GWAR). Sure, the musicianship might be tight, but the subject matter of their songs are silly, fluffy and ultimately forgettable.

This is not the case with The Mystery Men.

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Yes, the band does don lucha libre masks, have an insane origin story and are a fantastic live experience kind of band, but one thing you can’t overlook is just how sick their music is. This is a tight trio who have a masters degree in groove (they’re currently working on their doctorate).

The band’s debut record, Musica Enmacarada, is a sublime blend of fat, funky grooves and stoner metal soulfulness. The album is a 50/50 split of pure instrumentals and vocal-led tracks. This split gives the record a wonderful sense of diversity, yet that inherent groove is never lost. No matter if the band is singing in soulful harmony or jamming into the stratosphere, that head bopping vibe is alive and kicking.

To keep this review in the parlance of our journalistic times, the band evokes a lot of sonic memories of glorious stoner metal acts like Kyuss, but also has all the earmarks of a classic funk sound filtered through the civ of a jam band. There’s an underlying sense of improvisational play here and that’s what makes The Mystery Men’s sound so good. It takes you on this winding road of sound and the mystery (no pun intended) of where this road will take you is pretty exciting.

If you’re looking for a damn good record to pick up that will excite the soul, tap the toes and put a little groove in the heart, then The Mystery Men’s Musica Enmacarada, is must-own.

The Mystery Men will perform with The Toasters and the Voodoo Glow Skulls at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, N.J. on Saturday October 5th. Click here for tickets.

Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites