Don’t judge a CD by its first guitar riffs. Mardo’s The New Gun kicks off in blues rock fashion (22-20s, The Blue Van, The Redwalls) with the Chuck Berry-esque tale in “Lolita Live & Learn.” The dance disco beats bring on the party train for “Killer on the Dancefloor,” much like I used to hear in the non-stop party machine band called Dr. Zhivegas in St. Louis. Then there’s plenty of 80’s hair band, hard rocking glam recalling Def Leppard. Meanwhile, a soulful cover of “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” blends R&B, funk soul, and Mardo’s own charm.
Don’t judge a band by their Website artwork either. Despite the racy drawings, the album, The New Gun, has a very prayerful song, “The Healing.” The song itself has an acoustic guitar ballad entry akin to Dave Matthews, a filtered-voice echo dance rock effect, and then the gang vocal, Def Leppard chorus.
Read the lyrics, and it’s no mistake that this could be a prayer.
Hey You, Out there
I hope you’re Listening tonight
I’ve never asked for nothing
But now I need you
Hey You, Please answer
Why’d my life turn out this way
Give me one good reason
To keep on Living
See me, Feel me, Touch me, Heal me
See me, Feel me, Won’t somebody help me please
Standing outside with my head in my hands
Questioning things that I don’t understand
So many people pressuring me
Won’t somebody help me please
Hey you, Out there
Can you hear me screaming loud?
Won’t you stop and help me
Please forgive me
Is that surprising to find a prayer in the middle of an album filled with sexual references and kind of a tribute to the party scene? Perhaps if we want to believe that the party machine leaders have no soul. Yet, it seems that Mardo’s outward appearance only serves to hide what’s really going on behind blue eyes.
In that way, “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” is a natural choice for a cover as the song doesn’t actually celebrate Papa’s wandering habit, but instead, cries out over the lost father-child relationship.
Another ballad “Hide Your Mirrors” is lifted by Doors-like organ, leading you to face up to your own emptiness. “I don’t sleep at night/I don’t know how you can, because your world’s not right/Because your vanity will lead to lust and anger.” Far from the vain attempts by most rock ‘n’ roll bands to cover up the shallowness of our desires and cravings, Mardo challenges us saying, “You selfishly hide your greed with laughter.” In theology, we call that the second use of the Law; God’s Law is a mirror which shows our sin and our need for a Savior.
Which all leads to back to the prayer in “The Healing”: “Hey You, Out there/Can you hear me screaming loud?/Won’t you stop and help me/Please forgive me.”
Mardo actually does quite a job at leading us to the altar to seek forgiveness from Jesus. Imagine that.