Released: 2000, Suicidal Records
Reviewer: Nathan Robinson
Mike Muir’s various bands, including Suicidal Tendencies, have been very elusive over the years. Even since kick-starting Suicidal Tendencies and Infectious Grooves on their own label, Suicidal Records, Mike’s projects have been pretty hard to keep track of. It seems most fans have lost interest, and magazines have stopped covering his music. Even the band’s own web site (http://www.suicidaltendencies.com
) and their record label’s site (http://www.suicidaltendencies.com/suicidalrecords/index.htm
) don’t seem to be updated enough to let the diehard fans know just what the fuck is going on with Mike and Co. And so I arrive at the new Infectious Grooves album. Metal? Of course not! But I feel they belong here because I know many metalheads dig this band. So here goes…
Over the last few years, you could say that Suicidal Tendencies virtually was Infectious Grooves. Not only were the band members practically the same, the music was also very similar. And they knew it too as they gave some of their songs on Suicidal Family and Friends the combined ST/IG moniker. So I finally arrive at the fourth proper Infectious Grooves album Mas Borracho. Let me start out by saying that bass-god Robert Trujillo is back! So I knew right off the bat this album was going to be better than I anticipated! That’s nothing against Josh Paul (who played in the band during the interim between albums), as he totally kicked ass. But Robert writes music. In fact, the lineup on Mas Borracho is the same as the 1994 release Groove Family Cyco, with a few guest appearances.
So the funk is back in full force! Mas Borracho seems like a natural extension of Groove Family Cyco, however considerably less metallic. And a little more experimentation this time around reminds me of the first two IG albums. There’s quite a bit of variety on Mas Borracho, both from a musical and vocal standpoint. In fact this is perhaps Mike’s most diverse vocal performance ever. Robert had a big influence on the songs, and I think it shows, because this new material sounds pretty fresh. Infectious Grooves seemed pretty inspired when writing this album. There are even parts on Mas Borracho that remind me of Fishbone, giving it an unsuspecting twist. From a sonic angle, the production is very clean, but Robert’s bass could stand out a bit more. And the guitars need to be much heavier during the heavy parts. I’m talking the-intro-to-“Monster Skank” heavy! Another thing that somewhat bothers me is Mike’s attitude lately. He seems too happy, and therefore the lyrics and vocals suffer. I guess you can’t walk through life always angry, but damn it, give us some more hatred and attitude! In fact sometimes his vocals sound like his punk solo project, which is not a good thing. Overall, Mas Borracho pales in comparison to Infectious Grooves’ first two albums, however it’s quite impressive considering the lack of direction and inspiration Mike and Co. have experienced since their demise and resurrection subsequent to Groove Family Cyco.
As a final note, be aware that a “special European edition” of Mas Borracho exists with five bonus tracks, collectively titled the “Pneumonia EP”. One track is a new Suicidal Tendencies song, another is from Adam Siegal’s band My Head, another a new version of “Choosin’ My Own Way of Life” by the resurrected No Mercy (now named No Mercy Fool!), another from Mike Clark’s project Creeper (although I’m not so sure he’s involved anymore), and lastly a track from Mike’s solo project Cyco Miko. All five of these bands/projects are supposed to have new albums out (or coming out soon). I have no idea if these tracks will make their respective albums or not. Visit the above web sites for information on ST and IG, and also check out this site: myweb.worldnet.net/~cycocrew/dysfunk/index.html. Also, CDNow (http://www.cdnow.com
) carries a wealth of Infectious Grooves and Suicidal Tendencies releases.