Mascots’ story in two volumes (“Your Mascots,”1965/”Elpee,” 1966) (2014 RPM)
Between the years of 1964 and 1969 Swedish pop rock band Mascots released two LPs, “Your Mascots” and “Elpee” both originally released by Decca and an impressive 21 singles, released on 4 labels, 57 tracks total. The bands’ complete works are chronicled in two releases by RPM International Records, UK.
The story begins with an expanded edition of the band’s 1965 debut album “Your Mascots” originally released by Decca. The original album, recorded only in mono, is found here supplemented by 9 single sides for a total of 21 tracks, with a run time of about 44 minutes. From the beginning it is obvious that Mascots were heavily influenced by British Invasion bands, The Beatles and The Zombies being the two most obvious. Jangling guitars, delicate vocal harmonies and short, tight compositions are the order of the day. Highlights of the album include “Tip Of My Tongue”, “A Sad Boy” and “My Very Best” showcasing the band’s vocal harmonies and delicate guitar work. Also among the album’s 12 tracks is a cover of Chuck Berry’s “Too Much Monkey Business” featuring a mouth harp break and a driving beat. Among the single sides, “Baby, Baby” stands out with its up tempo beat and stinging guitar solo. “Stones Fell” is memorable for its chugging guitars and gorgeous vocals.
The second part of Mascot’s story centers around the group’s 1966 album “Elpee” (also released by Decca) presented here in two disc, expanded edition. Disc one contains the LP’s 14 tracks in stereo (it was not released in mono), while the second disc contains 22 single sides, all but two presented in their mono mixes. In stark contrast to their debut album, “Elpee” (in keeping with the times) greets the listener’s ear with fuzzed out guitars on the album’s opener “The Winner.” “I Close My Eyes” is another fuzz fest with gorgeous harmony vocals, reminiscent of their British Invasion influences. The album features a more mature, much heavier sounding version of Mascots, especially guitarists Stefan Ringbom and Gunnar Idering who supply top flight solos on up tempo rockers like “I Want To Live”, “This Time Girl” and “Nobody Crying.” The rhythm section of Anders Fosslund on bass and Rolf “Buff” Adolfsson on drums is tight. The band does, however, still display plenty of harmony on tunes like “Every Way I Think Of You” and “Droopy Drops.” The second disc of the set contains over 55 minutes of single sides, released between 1966 and the band’s ultimate demise in 1969. That means there are singles on the Decca, Hep House, Polydor and Parlaphone labels! This is the first time the Mascots’ story has been told outside Sweden, aided greatly by an exclusive interview with guitarist/vocalist Stefan Ringbom.
The RPM International packaging for “Your Mascots” and “Elpee” are each rounded out by 12 page full color booklets containing informative liner notes by reissue producer Kieron Tyler. The sound is fresh and crisp thanks to the wonderful remastering job by Simon Murphy. So what we have here is the definitive documentation of the recorded legacy of Mascots, without question one of Sweden’s best rock acts ever. Once again the fine folks at RPM International have been good to their word and gone “beyond the scope of ordinary musical experience.”
Review made by Kevin Rathert/2015
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