By Adam Lovinus
By Lilledeshan Bose
By Gabriel San Roman
By Rachel Mattice
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Daniel Kohn
By Nate Jackson
By Mike Seeley
Maker's Mark seems to be a running theme with Costa Mesa's resident golden child(ren?) band Satisfaction these days.
Talking to front man Michael Rosas and drummer James Fletcher—on separate occasions, mind you—the Kentucky-made bourbon is mentioned both times and always associated with good times.
In fact, it was suggested that Fletcher's kinda-infamous, so-called pornstache might be the best interviewee for this piece.
"If you put down enough shots of Maker's, you'll have one, too," Rosas declares. "It arrives like a thief in the night. You wake up one afternoon and boom—mustache. You can't fight nature. You just have to ride it like a wild beast into your magical destiny."
Facial hair, magical beasts and whiskey aside, Satisfaction's one of those names that's been around for about a squillion years, in one shape or another. It's been about 15 years since the inception of Satisfaction's previous evolutionary stage, the veritable Smile, another of those bands the Weekly'sbeen trumpeting for, uh, about a squillion years.
Consisting of Aaron Wahlman (bass), Rosas, Fletcher and anotherFletcher (this time Matthew, on keyboards), Satisfaction have finally released another EP, Cougars, Sharks & Flying Sparks,some three years since their previous four-song demo, For Men and Women.
The title Cougars, Sharks & Flying Sparksis taken from "So We'll Just Take the Night," which leads off with a Mancini-inspired, Peter Gunn-ish, sort of surf-metal growl eruption that ensures the song's place as being the hookiest track of the EP, complete with harmonious oooh-oooh-ooooohsin all the right places and an almost ragtime-y rhythmic pulsation of Fletcher's keys.
"The song's about the way things can get going when you're rat-assed and gallivanting around time—the adventures, the troubles, the ruckus and the new friends you make along the way," Rosas says. "I suppose the lyrics make more sense when you're a little more ripped."
Cougars, Sharks & Flying Sparksstill boasts an admirably stubborn refusal to adhere to any aural standards, expectations or trends. Since their Smile days, Satisfaction have been doing their own thing—and they're good at it, which is more than can be said about most new-ish Orange County groups trying to market their catchy hooks. But Satisfaction's pop stuff's still there. "Walk Away Sunny Day" is as chipper as its name, and there's a ballad within "That Song."
Best of all, the new EP's got a '70s-rock aspect to it, almost as if it could be played on KLOS. Crystal visions of Fleetwood Mac flash through the six tracks of Cougars, Sharks & Flying Sparks—and even some heavy '70s glam mixed with '70s pop, especially taking the guitar solo and Rosas' almost tongue-twisting falsetto chorus into mind in the dramatic "Don't Do This to Me." It's T. Rex meets Atlanta Rhythm Section.
"I think there is a certain basic aesthetic in that music that we admire . . . a simplicity. When it sounds natural and human, it's more exciting to people like us. A lot of popular music today sounds overly labored and perfected—and it's boring as a result. It takes a lot of hard work to make a sound that shitty, and we're too lazy for that," says Rosas. "We keep things loose and meaty, and then we validate it by dubbing it 'solid gold.'"
SATISFACTION PERFORM AT THE CONTINENTAL ROOM, 115 W. SANTA FE AVE., FULLERTON, (714) 526-4529. THURS., JUNE 14, 9 P.M. FREE. 21+; AND AT LA CAVE, 1695 IRVINE AVE., COSTA MESA, (949) 646-7944. FRI. CALL FOR TIME. FREE. 21+. FOR MORE INFO ON THE BAND, VISIT WWW.SATISFACTIONMUSIC.COM; WWW.MYSPACE.COM/SATISFACTION.