Brighton based band Mudlow have been plying their 'post punk blues' since 2002 and 'Waiting for the Tide to Rise' is a career retrospective covering their album and EP releases to date. The vinyl LP version consists of 11 tracks while the CD reviewed here boasts a lofty 17 songs.
Despite their longevity, which is perhaps the best indicator of success, Mudlow seem something of a hidden treasure and details in the public domain are scarce. Tending to go by first names only, the core line-up consists of Tobias, lead guitar and vocals, Pauly, bass and Matt, drums/percussion, with all the tracks here being written by Tobias and arranged collectively by the band. To varying degrees across the songs, additional musicians supplement the sound with sax, trumpet, trombone, cello and harmonica.
Well, track one 'Down In The Snow' doesn't mess around, barging in like a lost classic from a Quentin Tarantino movie soundtrack, all heavily reverbed guitar, blaring horns and rock solid drums and bass. Tobias's voice is also suitably epic, buried in the mix it's something of a marginally less hoarse Tom Waits moving towards the gritty tones of Malcolm Holcombe. A great song and great fun!
'Drunken Turkey' follows in slightly slower, swampy, sleazier fashion and is a real showcase for the winning way Tobias has with his guitar tone - beautifully meaty and overdriven.
'Damn Your Eyes' continues in the more sultry vein conjuring up images of the Fun Loving Criminals whilst 'The Jester' slows things down even more into blues ballad country before 'Stubbs Yard' jolts the listener out of any reverie with yet another of Tobias's seemingly endless supply of hooky riffs.
Track six 'Snowhill Farm' is a very atmospheric, acoustic based number with a yearning vocal from Tobias that shows the sweeter side of his voice and in parts has the lovely timbre of Michael Stipe. Another great song this and my personal favourite on the album.
Again, the reverie does not last and the guitar and particularly fine drumming of 'Crackling' rattles the song through splendidly.
Space does not allow a continued track-by-track account of the album, but it's safe to say the quality of these openers are maintained throughout the seventeen song salvo.
Other standouts for me are the drum and harmonica led 'So Long Lee', the brooding menace of 'Minnesota Snow', 'Mad Mary Lou' with its good old-fashioned R 'n' B vibe and the sharp, crisp syncopation and rock steady groove of album closer 'Red Ribbon'.
'Waiting for the Tide to Rise' is packed full of great songs, even better playing and a recording quality that manages to be both crystal clear and immediate, preserving what I imagine to be the undoubted joyous energy of a Mudlow live show.
As a career retrospective or, for listeners like me, an introduction to the band, this album is just the ticket.
|Parker Millsap: Other Arrangements||Kerri Powers: Starseeds|
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