his power move - The Noise

SILVER CIRCLE REVIEWS FEBRUARY 2010

MASCARA
Mr. Fibuli’s Records
Fountain of Tears
12-song CD

Well, many of us have been waiting a long time for Chris Mascara to make his power move, and this is it. Of course, being something of a mystic, he tells the truth, but tells it slant, right from the get-go. “Dragonflies” is a seesawing and powerful opening incantation. “Retarded” is a lovely, lost, mildly unsettling song. “B261” is a rocking, Bowie-variety anthem about Jackie Wilson, late of the Brunswick label, who tangled with mobsters and lived to meet a truly ghastly denouement. The coldly, brilliantly anthemic “Carry Me” is both majestic and inspired—the one song I keep coming back to again and again. Other selections offer a variegated soundscape. A few are more than mildly unsettling: the ghoulish “Lester”; the eerie and astonishing “Listerine”; the spooky “Deep in Palm Beach.” And at least two songs are full-blown disturbing: the angular “Ainadamar” and the scathing and scarifying “High School.” Perhaps not conciously, Chris Mascara’s compositional strategy seems to be to utilize dissonance to selectively defamiliarize the ordinary: wrenching it from its everyday context to make us question the foundations of what we ordinarily take for granted. In that way he is powerfully in the tradition of artists such as Captain Beefheart and Pere Ubu, but is, nonetheless, sui generis. This is a mixed bag of a song collection, but the first nine songs are compelling enough to hold us for a good long while. (Francis DiMenno)