It’s a matter of coincidental but illuminating timing that as the strains of Madahoochi play through the speakers, I’m rummaging through old concert flyers from the early to mid ‘90s. The St. Louis act’s sound would have fit well within one of those lineups — a mix of energy, pop songwriting, swatches of distorted guitar chords and precision rhythms with a sprinkle of funk, and lyrics that beckon to the world of suburban collegiates. It’s frothy fun that contains enough bounce to be danceable and complexity to make the musicianship stand out from the slices of melodic pie and remind us that there’s art among the rock.
The four songs on Square One, are the first installment of a three EP series that the band is releasing digitally. “Real Time” bursts forth with a cheerful intro that sounds like the theme to a sitcom. And like the final track, “Johnny Walker,” it morphs into a few minutes of amiable appeal that hard rock acts created when making their way through the post-grunge alternative rock world. “Text Slut” goes in an even poppier direction, as if it’s a Katrina and the Waves outtake. “Today (My Friends Left School)” brings together the approaches from the first two tracks yet is far from the mess it could have become. And that’s even with the addition of clever guitar licks that would sound at home on a track by Rush. The material may dredge up college bar memories of dollar draft nights but throughout Square One, Madahoochi’s biggest asset is its knack for creating hooks upon hooks.