With Hollywood already going full comic book, music might as well follow suit. Audiences are primed for explosive, larger-than-life content. Why not give them what they want? MisterWives are embracing this strategy, and it’s working. The New York-based five-piece — led by the operatically inclined, Queens-born songwriting powerhouse Mandy Lee Duffy, who either wrote or co-wrote all of these tunes — has released a debut whose panels are bursting with rock ’em, sock ’em action. It’s the pop-rock answer to Iron Man we didn’t know we needed.
Teaming improbably with producer Frequency, known for his work with Eminem, MisterWives borrow EDM’s bombast and wed it to randy ska, agile funk and sugary R&B. “Our Own House” begins like a Calvin Harris song before bursting into disco funk, complete with Nile Rodgers-style guitars. “Reflections” sounds like a heavenly mash-up of Weezer and the Bee Gees, the kind of track you might find yourself making pistols with your hands to and pointing them at strangers. “Coffins” is a ballad worthy of Adele. This is a high bar, one the band can’t live up to on the relatively inert tunes in between, like “Oceans” and “Imagination Infatuation.” But these moments are excusable alongside a track like “Best I Can Do,” the chorus of which is best accompanied by a mental image of Bugs Bunny doing a jig (seriously).
Do MisterWives sound a little bit pre-fab, like a blockbuster subjected to one too many focus groups? Are those guitars just a little too Chic chic? The bass kicks just a bit too concussive? Well, yeah, but that’s like saying The Avengers has too many explosions. Relax and enjoy the show.