The Mustard Seeds 
Artist: The Mustard Seeds 
Label: Entourage Records, 1996 
  
Lousy production.  Poor recording techniques.  Average musicians.  These terms seem to be synonymous with independent releases.  Not so The Mustard Seeds!  This Entourage Records gem is as polished as any big production house can put out.  The real shocker is that the band did much of the production and some of the recording themselves!  So much for the independent stigma.  This 11 track first effort is a nifty find.  
 
Others compare the Mustard Seeds to King's X (the band themselves list King's X in the credits).  The first time I listened to the CD I was expecting a hard rock or even a metal sound.  There is an edge to their music, but it fits more in the category of modern alternative than hard rock or metal, and would be well received on most college radio stations. After being disappointed in my first listen by these Kings X references, I checked my expectations at the door and gave it another spin.  The music really shined through and won me over.  The guitars were alternating crisp and fuzzy, depending on the song, and played with expertise.  The vocals were clear and well harmonized without overwhelming the music.  The percussion carried a steady beat without getting carried away.  The bass line pulled it all together and helped drive the heavier songs.  Is this really an indie release?  No sagging vocals?  No overwhelming bass or drums? No muted guitars?  It left me shocked, stunned and very impressed. 
  
 Who are these guys?  George Bernhardt and Doug Bossi play guitar, Matt Bissonette on bass, and Jorge Palacios the drums--all four members share in the vocals.  The final product is a cross between PFR and Extreme with the mesmerizing harmonies of the later.  The songs "Cats & Dogs," (which appeared on New Voices - Rolling Stone, Volume 4), "Life Goes On," and  "Ordinary Man" sound very similar to PFR, while "Mr. Green," " Red Mountain," and "King Kong" carry a more Extreme like sound.  In my opinion, The Mustard Seeds are one of the best unsigned bands around. 
  
The lyrics are excellent.  They are subtle and make great listening. 'Last Man On Earth' is an excellent song about the temptations of the world. "Ordinary Man" could be a song about Peter, you, or me.  The lyrics aren't hit you over the head Christian, but it is definitely there.  Especially on the song "Quicksand" (sub-titled Goathead):  

    Goathead lives all around,  
    Sucks the life from the innocent children. 
    Goathead will feast on you, 
    His lips are working overtime, 
    Stealing all your hope inside. 
    Takes you to a railway station, 
    Ties you to the tracks. 

     I'm walking in quicksand, but I'll never lay down. 
     I'm swimming in quicksand, but love won't let me drown.

 "Red Mountain" is the only song that explicitly says God in the lyrics, but all the songs give you a lot to think about.  They are intelligent and thought provoking.  The words stick in your head and you'll find yourself humming the tunes. 
 
The only problem is that The Mustard Seeds may be hard to get your hands on. Entourage Records does have a great website that you can download .wav file samples of the songs "Cats & Dogs" and "Mr. Green." 
  
Do I like it?  Yes, I do!  Even after my original disappointment.  I have already recommended this to several friends.  It hits the right spot for me.  I will look forward to future releases by these guys. 

By Mark Aylor 

Entourage Records 
11115 Magnolia Boulevard North  
Hollywood, CA 91601 
Tel: (818) 505-0001 
Fax: (818) 761-7956 E 
web: http://www.primenet.com/label/html/home.html 
e-mail: contact@entouragerecords.com 
 

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