Mimi Ferocious 250 Times Sweeter Than Sugar

This NYC-based quartet features some playfully theatrical rock arrangements that might serve as a middle-of-the-road guilty pleasure. Vocalist/guitarist Stephanie St. John leads this pop-rock combo with an approach that owes as much to Elvis Costello as it does Joni Mitchell. While such influences linger a bit on this record, ultimately the band isn’t quite able to sustain anything of particular interest on this 40-minute album. Though they paw at lively rock arrangements, there is something inexplicably tepid about most of the songs here, as if they might be best presented at a coffeehouse for adult contemporary pop songwriters. St. John certainly has the pipes to carry any song (even ones about sleeping with cab drivers, which she apparently fancies), and she proves this on her own "Chariot” and "Rocket Song,” as well as a brave rendition of Donna Summer’s disco-infused "I Feel Love.” Such moments of inspiration (albeit, derived from someone else’s) provide Mimi Ferocious with a gateway out of their own corporate rock blandness so that their true energy and spirit are able to shine through. Unfortunately, these moments are few and far between on 250 Times. (Lunch Lady)