It’s kind of cool to see newer acts still digging into the sounds of yesteryear. The Masterminds, while hailing from Jersey, sound like a cosmopolitan group of dudes drawing on the leftfield rock sensibilities of The Tragically Hip, Interpol, Suicide, and even Television. Jersey is obviously a rich musical town, whose artists have given us glimpses into the struggle of working-class and marginalized communities, and you can always find it in your hearts to forgive them for Snookie and Jwoww. Honestly, The Masterminds don’t necessarily continue that aforementioned Jersey legacy in the spirit of Bon Jovi, say, but they seem to have a similar knack for storytelling. The group is already on its second album after premiering in 2017 with In Effect, which showcases some great cover artwork btw.

“Boomerang,” The Masterminds‘ latest single, can’t help but remind me of 80s punk-rock breakup tunes where the narrator is usually at the shit-end of that stick and is enjoying the taste of revenge, as karma has gotten around to biting their ex-lover in the butt somehow. I can dig that narrative. I mean, hell, we’ve all been there, haven’t we? Besides the lyrics, there’s some great, classic songwriting going on here. That’s something I, for one, do miss. I mean, for those of us that grew up on FM pop-rock tunes, with an emphasis on the golden era of rock music, you can’t go wrong with a well crafted verse-chorus-bridge-type form with a hook that keeps you coming for more. In that regard, The Masterminds deliver.

Musically, “Boomerang” is pretty loaded. We got a girl-group-Esque Bayou beat to kick things off, followed by some 70s new-wave/proto-punk guitars à la Television’s Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd. Also sounds like the boys threw in some Elvis Costello & The Attractions for good measure, circa Armed Forces. All good stuff and should definitely be played at high volumes. I would have appreciated a bit more of a driving bass filling in some of the gaps, but the drums and rhythms are doing a pretty good job keeping the rock motor pumping underneath the hood.

These guys have a nice single on their hands: it’s beefy! Go listen to them and get hopeful about seeing them in a post-Corona scenario. Lord knows I have.

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