With their second release, Out 2 Rock, Sichuan-based M.I.C. (Made in China) returns with a brand new line up. Principal founder, vocalist, and guitarist Yvon Serre remains, but he's added Chengdu musicians Shao Qian (d) and Huang Hongliang (b) and Angela Renzetti (rg, bv) from Seattle. With no exception Out 2 Rock music remains an expression of Serre's nearly 35 year history in the rock business. This is classic rock and roll with some 80's punk brashness and a 90's garage rock feel lacquered with friendly melodic rock. Actually, the garage rock feel may be the most compelling characteristic of this otherwise lackluster offering. The production has a stripped down gritty feel on many songs which provides the real energy (against Serre's contrived shouts of enthusiasm after a few beginning chords on certain songs). Giving him credit, Serre is definitely a master of his craft, even if it is largely mundane.
While most bands who love melodic rock history are reinventing it by refreshing and reinvigorating it, Serre and company seems content to live in the past. Few songs jump off this platter with ear shattering effect. The only songs 'out to rock' on Out 2 Rock are Hot Summer Day, Can't Live the Way, Tell the Lies and, possibly, What You Doing. Others start with a certain rambunctiousness, but ultimately go nowhere. Rockin Lucille is a perfect example. The quasi-ballads Something to Say and Between the Eyes are merely droll and predictable. Then there's the absurd, but punkish, Sit On You. Generally, M.I.C.'s Out 2 Rock's rock is like thrift store clothing: worn again but never fresh and rarely appealing. Listen before you buy.