M.D.G - 2001 M.D.G [EP]

LABEL: Whats Real Unlimited
YEAR: 2001

LINEUP: Matthew D. Guarnere - drums, percussion, programming, guitar, vocals * Robert Scribble - piano, synthesizers * A.D. Zimmer - bass * Ethan Porter, Jay J. Palermo, Mike Gallagher, Mike Ciranni - guitars

TRACK LISTING: 01 A Little Chemistry * 02 White Trash Wonder * 03 You Never Have To Grow Old My Dear * 04 Where's Everyone Gone * 05 Chemistry Experiment * 06 MDG Record Remix * 07 MDG Interview


M.D.G. (aka Matthew D. Guarnere) and his music offers the kind of dilemma which usually has a rock reviewer reaching for comparisons en masse.

The Songs

Take, for instance, EP opener 'A Little Chemistry', in essence a beautifully simple piano ballad, but Mr. Guarnere's ambitious and sophisticated arrangement and performance style combines gorgeous lead- and back-up vocals, swirly flanging and tasty guitar leads to great effect. This is just where I'm supposed to liken the sound of this to that of a vintage British rock group or a Dutch piano eccentric, however, this sounds different. And different 'good', as in not a rip-off.

'White Trash Wonder', on the other hand, is modern enough to scare quite a few traditionalist AOR and melodic rock fans, if they are not brave enough to make it to the rather catchy chorus or get a kick out of the powerful lyrics, belted out over driving power guitar chords.

Track three, 'You Never Have to Grow Old, My Dear' is a heartfelt tribute to Queen's Freddie Mercury which updates rather than imitates some of the British band's trademark sounds. Guarnere's lead vocals are also wonderfully intense here, and the song builds to a great climax without ever getting overtly dramatic or syrupy - simply brilliant.

The final regular track, 'Where's Everybody Gone?' sheds the bombast and proves that M.D.G. is equally at home singing over simple acoustic guitar lines - eloquent and haunting. Bonus tracks on this EP is an interview which gives a comprehensive look into all things M.D.G., plus 'Chemistry Experiment' and 'M.D.G. Record Remix'.

The two latter mentioned tracks are cleverly edited and combined elements from the four regular songs, and offer insights into M.D.G.'s arrangement and songwriting style. 'M.D.G. Record Remix' ventures the furthest from the original tunes, adding the versatile trumpet playing of Mr. Paul Smoker.

In Summary

The 'M.D.G. EP' comes thoroughly recommended to anyone with an ear for good melody and intelligent, well produced rock music.

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