Cargo For The Road is the second album in twelve months for Little Mammoths, the band formed by Matt Owens following the demise of Noah & The Whale. They have been called the hardest working band in rock and roll, and already have a reputation for playing incredibly long sets (four hours plus). They are unashamedly a bar band, at their best in a live environment and clearly take a lot of joy from playing to a crowd.
This latest release is like a love letter to whiskey-soaked gritty Americana, with its rock and roll stories of life on the road. Kicking off with Get Me Back To Austin and Hungover In New York, the London based band are not exactly shy in wearing their influences on their sleeves. The former especially should be a crowd pleaser at gigs; a fast paced foot stomper of a track that gives the album an immediate energy.
The rest of the album may drop the volume under eleven, but there's some very enjoyable tracks on display. She Came In From The Storm is a country tinged slow burner of a song, with impressively authentic sounding vocals, even if they feel at times a touch like they come from a Springsteen tribute act. Alright For Tonight is a fast paced indie-country fusion track with driving drums, and First Light is an eighties throwback reminiscent of the likes of Bon Jovi.
There are times when this album does feel a little paint by numbers, and lacking that spark of originality. There aren't many songs here that will linger in the memory after the record has stopped spinning, but it's a lot of fun while it's playing. A touch obvious perhaps, but it is especially effective as an advert for their live gigs.
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