Record Review - 1 February 24 2001
Listening to Mission: You, it's difficult to tell if the Rosenbergs' much-publicized fight with Farmclub.com was a brilliant marketing ploy or a shot in the foot. The group rejected an offer to appear on the Farmclub TV show because they were asked to sign a contract that would have given the label, among other things, the option to sign the band to a six-CD deal, regardless of the band's wishes. Instead, they signed a very liberal deal with Discipline Global Music, the company founded by King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp. The resulting brouhaha has brought the band more attention than they probably would have received if they'd actually gotten a deal.
Everything on this CD — from the Pepsi-esque "ba-ba-ba-ba-bas" on the first track to the Vocoder effects on "After All" — screams "play us constantly on modern rock radio!" The music is well-played, pleasantly catchy, guitar-heavy power-pop with lots of sunny vocal harmonies, charmingly naive lyrics about love and lust, pets and plastic surgery, and a few keyboard flourishes here and there to spice things up.
But the end result isn't very spicy at all. In fact, Mission: You is about as fluffy as a big ol' ball of cotton candy, which is pleasant and sweet in its way, but not very filling and prone to cause bellyaches. That's why the whole Farmclub situation could end up doing them more damage than good. Unless the Rosenbergs inject a little substance into their sweetness, no one's going to remember them for anything other than their battle. — KAREN MANN
The Rosenbergs play the PlanetJam Cotton Club, Thurs., Feb. 22.