John Brannon of Negative Approach/Easy Action recently remarked that the Muldoons are "the next wave of rock 'n' roll." His reasoning is sound, even if the statement is somewhat exaggerated: Brothers Shane (11) and Hunter (14) Muldoon are extremely young and they certainly know how to make a racket. Since bursting onto the scene three years ago, supporting the White Stripes, the Muldoons have impressed many of Detroit rock's top brass, Brannon included.
This EP follows hot on the heels of their debut full length album and here's the thing — like the Displays, the Muldoons can no longer rely on the goodwill instinctively generated by their tender ages. By no means has the band been using the youthful age hook as a gimmick; quite the opposite, in fact. But if they want to be taken seriously as a musical force, then they do have to take the rough with the smooth. So how good is their new EP? The songs are actually very well-crafted, particularly the frenetic "You're On the Menu," the raucous and anthemic "Grass Is Always Greener" and the angst-y "Pain, Gimme Sympathy" (available only as a free digital download accompanying the purchase of the EP). They all demonstrate that the brothers are continuing to improve as both songwriters and guitarists. The problem, however, is with Shane's voice. He still sounds like "the kid," which, of course, he is. Nevertheless, the "rock Donnie Osmond" vocal delivery is grating, giving the Muldoons overall sound a junior high "Battle of the Bands" feel. While this is a fact that only time can cure, it's still a fact.
Giving the Muldoons a less than glowing review generates feelings akin to kicking a puppy. The truth is, though, given time, they'll be just fine. But for the immediate future, they're destined to wear that "novelty" tag a bit like a lead weight.