Blacktop Mojo - Under The Sun
“Try to keep it down!” belts Matt James during “Come get your coat” from Blacktop Mojo's upcoming new release “Under the sun” which is due out September 13th 2019.
The statement seems more like a challenge that’s been presented by the band to the listener when playing this album. I came into this review with a slight familiarity with Blacktop Mojo's previous work and was always pleased with what I heard from this group from Texas. So when this album was sent to me to review before its release I was excited to see where these guys were heading with their sound. Let me just pre warn you now, this album blew my mind and made my job of reviewing this album way to easy.
The album kicks off with the track “Lay it on me” immediately I was impressed with the thick grooves on this track. Nathan Gillis (drums) and Matt Curtis (bass) shine on this gem with a strong presence that provides a solid backbone to this cut. Eventually the absolute earth stomping guitar riffs provided by Chuck Wepfer and Ryan Kiefer lead into Matt James opening lines of “Theres something your not saying, Something your not telling me” which are delivered in such a strong and fantastic vocal. Matt James’s vocals are so impressive on this album that you'll find yourself whispering damnnnn! To yourself throughout the album.
“Set it free” the second track up continues to show just how tight the band is on “Under the sun” Matt James vocals on the chorus sound eerily similar to Chris Cornell with his bellowed intense screams that hit every note. Again Matt's bass comes through this mix and provides the perfect head nodding groove.
By the time I settled into the third track “Come get your coat” two things became apparent to me. One, the production on this album is top notch. The instruments all come through sharp in the mixes and two, this is an album that wont be a surprise very long once its out. From the lyrics to the delivery and performance the band is clicking on this one.
We’ve reached our first balladesque track of the album “It wont last” The band downshifted into a lower gear and put James's soulful vocals front and center. Lyrically a very strong entry on the album where as James dives into a complicated relationship where in the end, the best part is that it wont last also of note on this track is the fantastic leads on guitar.
“All mine now” jumps back in to high gear and opens the door for “Cant Sleep” “Cant sleep” is the first single from this album and quickly and now to me unsurprisingly landed on the Billboard Mainstream Rock top 40 list. A track where James asks “why are you staring at the ceiling” to someone who's having trouble sleeping. A lyrical theme that has shown up a few times on the album where in someone seems to be holding back and struggling with the things in there head
“The lashing (ghost)” moves in to follow up with haunting guitars and strong vocals in what is a very nice change in pace song that again shows the ability this band has to fluidly dip in and out of different genre's while all the while creating a sound very much their own
We soon are treated to a beautiful acoustic opened “The Void” which again really shines a light on the guitars with an absolutely soul packed solo that ushers in the end of the track Again, the musicianship on this album is on showcase.
We close this album with “Under the sun” the title track from the album and lets just say Blacktop Mojo decided to end the album on a thumper. Another fantastic head bobbing and soulful rocker.
Blacktop Mojo have upped the ante on this release. From the production, to the vocals. Musicianship and soul put into this release, I am expecting to be hearing their name a lot this year. Be sure to check them out on the road as they are playing the Freakers Ball October 25th with Marilyn Manson and Bush as well as others and also on October 26th at Kattfest with Marilyn Manson, Bad Wolves and a host of other great acts.
Do yourselves a favor and preorder this album so its in your inbox or mail ready to go on September 13th as you don't want to be late to this party.