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Music Review: Candygram for Mongo – The Red Pill is the Right Choice

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From the moment I heard the name of this band I wanted to review their work. Any self-respecting Mel Brooks fan is familiar with the importance of the phrase, "Candygram for Mongo," the infamous line from the movie Blazing Saddles. The movie has little to do with the big, dumb, oaf named Mongo. However, when the sheriff of Rock Ridge disguises himself as a delivery man and delivers a "candygram" for Mongo, who was sent to get rid of the sheriff, (which doesn't fit an old "western" theme, but then Brooks breaks genres throughout the entire film), you can't help but laugh.

Thus, I anxiously awaited the chance to check out this band. Of course, I must admit I knew absolutely nothing about them before I chose to review them. I knew I had some research to do on this album and band, but that was to be expected. It turns out that Candygram for Mongo is a group of three guys. There is Tony Shea (vocals and guitar), Gary Sharp (drums and bass), and Johnny D. (guitar and bass).

CFM is an independent band that started in late 2005. Despite the fact they are a newer band on the independent scene, they have the chance to become quite popular as they develop their sound together.

When I opened up the envelope The Red Pill arrived in and had a chance to look at the cover art, I will admit that I didn't know what to expect. I knew nothing of the band other than the brightly colored background and some skeletons jamming on the cover. So, when I popped the CD into my disc player I tried to keep an open mind.

The first and main problem I have with this CD is the quality is not as good as I would have liked. I am assuming the main reason for this is because Candygram for Mongo is an independent band. However, when listening to it, despite the urge to occasionally crank the volume, I had to keep it down because the feed would have been too distracting to pay attention to the music.

On the upside, the actual music was not bad. CFM claims The Ramones as just one of their influences and it really shows. The band works extremely well together. Listening to them I got the impression I was back in the 80's minus the bad hair days and atrocious fashion statements. Of course, there are also noticeable hints of Brit Rock and the happiness of a Ska band thrown in for good measure.

Candygram for Mongo's songs kept my interest for the most part. Out of 11 songs on The Red Pill I can say there were only two I did not want to listen to a second time. "Moon" and "Girlfriend" were my least favorite songs on the entire CD. However, songs such as "The Kids Have All Gone Crazy", "Bleed for It", and "Happy" were excellent. The track entitled "Porkchop", about a guy determining what to order in a diner, was my favorite of the 11 tunes.

Overall, the entire CD was decent. While the quality of the recording was not CD quality, and that would detract from my being completely satisfied if I were to purchase this album, I do plan to keep up-to-date on their future.

If the band keeps going down the path they are, records their next album in a professional studio, and tries to sing more upbeat, fast paced songs (as opposed to the out of place ballads) I think Candygram for Mongo will have a nice future. They are unique and fun, which is rare in an industry of carbon copy, 'thinspiring' wannabe performers.

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About Dominick Evans