Maggi, Pierce and E.J.
Usually when you say there's no pigeonholing a band, it's a bit of an overstatement
. A good music critic can nail anyone
down to a genre. Much as we try, there's no getting a handle on the affable, Philly-based Maggi, Pierce and E.J
. A truly eclectic trio, MPE have put out three self-titled records with the same, scribble cartoon artwork (unofficially titled by the background color). The latest, so-called "Red Album" is there most diverse yet, touching on straight Pop, cabaret Swing, bristling Folk, AltRock and '70s-sounding ProgRock -- sorta like peek Bongwater, with more focus on the music and less on the performance art concept. More often than not, when a band does this kind of genre-hopping, there's certain attempts that come off as pedestrian. But MPE manage to pull off every approach and manage to make it sound fairly cohesive. And it's all delivered with a fun, sittin'-on-the-backporch vibe that is completely disarming.
-- M. B.