neal agneta – the big takeover, issue 70, spring 2012

for what it’s worse – (reviewed with “pop the lock” by the magnolias) – it wouldn’t be going out on a limb to say that the magnolias and taggart are your proverbial “brothers from another mother” or perhaps it would be more spot on to suggest they were conceived from the same father – the proud papa being paul westerberg. both offspring are symptomatic of what a few dozen spins of pleased to meet me can have on the brain but while the replacements clout is baked into the cake it doesn’t leave a redundant aftertaste. the magnolias, who coincidentally share the same home turf as the mats, have resurfaced with their first new album since last century. the mags’ spunky power-pop and john freeman’s singular vocal panache are amazingly intact. with a plethora of searing guitar solos and no shortage of blue collar motifs, pop the lock can stand shoulder to shoulder with anything they churned out in their initial mid-’80s run and beyond.

at their best taggart rock out with the dexterous, charismatic aptitude of grand champeen and the figgs and deliver a varied album as well. my big complaint is that things flatline drastically during the later half illustrating that for would be a stronger contender if it was whittled down from 14 songs to about 10. we desperately need more keepers like “good intentions” and fewer in the mold of the sleepy “greater depression”. (the big takeover)