Marcy Playground scored one of the last genuine hits of the alternative rocking 1990s, and all it did was pigeonhole them as the one-hit wonder with goofy lyrics about disco lemonade. Instead of providing the bridge between the quirky alt rockers and the less ironic guys (Matchbox 20, etc.) they became a footnote in ‘90s trivia.
It's a shame because Lunch, Recess & Detention is indication that Sex and Candy was - as usual hit songs are - not indicative of the band's full range.
In the decade and a half following Sex and Candy, Marcy Playground released more albums, were included in several film soundtracks and toured extensively.
Lunch, Recess & Detention features b-sides, covers, re-recordings and a few new tracks that display a compelling range of emotions, a sense of humor and a strictly faithful approach to cover songs.
On paper, the band swings big covering three iconic songs - Whiter Shade of Pale, Hallelujah and The Needle and the Damage Done. Vocalist John Wozniak hits all the right notes, but the straightforward arrangements don't add much to the beloved originals.
Several tracks are predictable in their alt rock conventions. Those outside the realm of ironic indie rock are far more memorable.
The Plant Song is odd and playful while Ballad of Aslan rings with a classic but quirky folk vibe. It's in these songs where they step away from the sound that made them that is often the most compelling.
According to the liner notes, Mr. Fisher started out as a goofy folk-rock track but developed into a reggae song. It works, and is a pleasant respite sandwiched between Hallelujah and the re-recorded Sex and Candy.
For a band that is saddled with the image of late ‘90s slacker excess, they have a range and quality that is admirable. There's much more going on under those devious stares in my direction. Dig it.