January 21, 2010

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Mascara, Fountain of Tears
self-released, Jan. 19

There’s not much in the way of consumer-report ink on Boston-area singer Chris Mascara. His press blurbage and archaic MySpace page tend to dwell not on what his band sounds like but instead on excitedly punctuated tidbits (he was a model for the singer in the Rock Band video game!) and too-much-information (he’s got a serious psychological condition…!). Fair enough, then, that I call it as I see it strictly from a musical POV, the first step in the direction of which involves trawling the archives of unsigned Boston rock, a jiggle of the memory that should conjure The Dream before they became Extreme, before Gary Cherone’s tedious little songs were stripped down and made useful by real songwriters. Not that all this overanalyzing means Mascara’s a bad songwriter, just simply one with none too sharp a focus, taking for example opening song “Dragonflies,” a look at what Minus the Bear would sound like if they were trying to write for radio. Or “Lester,” a tune that Versus or Pavement might have tossed together or if they’d ever had real designs on rock stardom; or “B261,” a cross between Blue Oyster Cult and Rocky Horror. Familiar follies to oldbie local scenesters, then: cult rock with overt designs on Billboard, old-fangled Boston-scene scattershottedness, a bad trip similar to watching the Patsies get killed by the Bears in the Super Bowl all over again. CEric W. Saeger