Recording information: West West Side Music, Tenafly, NJ.
Photographer: Roderick Angle.
In the short year since their debut release, Brooklyn's Bad Wizard has quickly made a name for itself as one of the Big Apple's hardest-working and hardest-rocking outfits, which might explain the speedy arrival of their follow-up effort, 2002's Sophisticated Mouth. Unfortunately, such expediency also resulted in a very slight, but undeniable sophomore slump. Most noticeably, the album lacks the sonic punch in the gut of its predecessor -- not necessarily from a songwriting perspective, mind you, but in the production department, where it falls just short in terms of tightly wound crunch. It's a close call, though, and with standout rockers such as "Hurricane" and "Whoo!" bullying less-focused moments like "Soft, Warm and Wet" and "Loosen Up!" for their lunch money, the band can hardly be accused of napping on the job. Gravel-throated wild man Curtis Brown and firebrand guitarist Eddie Lynch are still the band's dual focal points (as well as the only remaining players from the first LP), but not even their spirited performances can carry the load all by themselves, especially with new slide guitarist Tina Gorin such a non-factor throughout. "Needle 2 Groove" introduces a surprising fuzzed-out organ solo over its thrusting main riff (a bastardized version of Mot”rhead's "Iron Horse"), and an unusual cover of Uriah Heep's "Love Machine" wraps it all up quite nicely for what is still a very good second album -- just not as irresistible as the first. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia
Entertainment Weekly (11/8/02, p.135) - "...BAD WIZARD serve up the sort of joyously lowbrow rock snooty critics would like you to forget ever existed..." - Rating: A-
Magnet (1/03, p.82) - "...There's more '70s boogie per capita here-in than is allowed in states with Sunday blue laws still on the books..."
CMJ (11/04/02, p.8) - "...SOPHISTICATED MOUTH is 30 minutes of hair-whippin' Camaro-rock that screams..."
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