‘Static’ is the latest in a conveyor belt of high-quality releases from Blacktop Mojo which began back in 2014 with their debut album; ‘I Am’. Released in perfect time for their online “gig” supporting groove-merchants Clutch, ‘Static’ is one of those moments that highlights frustrations with the music industry as a whole.
Blacktop Mojo are unsigned, independent, without financial support, and without the weight of a label marketing department behind them. How the hell did this happen? The fact that they are “opening” for Clutch speaks volumes for Blacktop Mojo. The fact that they are still currently unsigned is one of life’s great unanswered questions, along with “why are The 1975 still a thing?” and “who gave 6ix9ine sharpies?”.
So with the Clutch gig just over a week away, we have some new music from Blacktop Mojo in the shape of four-track EP ‘Static’. The Southern Rock tag sells the five piece from Palestine, TX short, yes there are the occasional Southern twangs on a track like ‘Leave It Alone’, but that’s mostly down to the atmospheric slide guitar sound. The aforementioned ‘Leave It Alone’ has more of an Alice In Chains and Soundgarden vibe than a Blackberry Smoke or Whiskey Myers influence. A slow-building tour de force which grunge fans should enjoy just as much as fans of powerful hard rock. In Matt James Blacktop Mojo have a vocalist with a quiet, assured sense of restraint. During ‘Leave It Alone’ and it’s immediate successor (the acoustic-meets-fuzzy-feedback) ‘Signal’s Gone’, James displays fantastic maturity in reigning in the urge to over-sing during quieter, more reflective moments. The opening two tracks on the EP are fine examples of atmospheric, muscular hard rock with enough riffs to put a rampaging rhino in its place. ‘The End’ and ‘Watch Me Drown’ are quite different in tempo and pacing, with the latter especially ebbing and flowing, but they both explode to life with a wall of fiery guitars and towering vocals.
Damn, this band should really be way bigger and more successful than they are. Invest in Blacktop Mojo now folks, get all the details on ‘Static’ EP here.
Review – Dave