Label: WeirdBeard Records
Released: November 2007
Before they had an album out, I wrote about the material Mongrels had up on their Myspace page. It was a raw, manic mix of garagey soul (or soulful garage). Either way, they tapped into the excitement of the late 60s Detroit that would profoundly influence much of 70s hard rock, even if few bands down the road had proven capable of keeping pace.
On Oshawa, they’ve become a little more tame, perhaps tapping their old sound and refining it into something with a broader appeal. Don’t be fooled, because the energy is still there, but it’s no longer channeled through the MC5 and Mitch Ryder, so much as Deep Purple and Heart. The nice thing about Mongrels is that they don’t lose all of the craziness of their pre-Oshawa recordings. Instead, a song like “All in My Head,” with a great pop chorus, is even bolder than before. Plus, they further capitalize on Amy Torok’s fantastic wail and a drummer for each channel (yeah, you get Tim Dwyer in the left speaker and Dusty Rails in the right) as well as the whole band’s recognition of the role of soul in great rock music.
On Oshawa, Mongrels have found a way to both clean up their sound and make it bolder. Gone is the wild garage noise, but the cleaner sound has greater breadth and intensity. There is a certain retro hard rock appeal to Oshawa, but Mongrels manages to bring the 70s with them as a part of their sound rather than returning to the past and being contained by it.