Review: Mike Ross – ‘The Clovis Limit Pt.2’

‘The Clovis Limit Pt.2’, the latest release from six-string wizard Mike Ross is not an instant album or an album to stick on for a quick fix. ‘The Clovis Limit Pt.2’ is an album to savour. An album to live with. And an album that delivers more hidden surprises with every listen.

For a start; it’s a lengthy affair. 50+ minutes depending on your format of choice. Songs twist and meander naturally, and at times often veer off in different directions during the same song, meaning the listener is constantly surprised. For instance, opening track ‘Thanks A Lot’ begins with a spacey synth sound, grows into a Black Crowes-swagger, breaks into a fast-paced rocker, settles into a brief stroll down Mott The Hoople memory lane, before turning back into the Black Crowes swagger; but with added acoustic guitar picking. And that’s just the opening 5.42 minutes of the album, there is another 50 to go!

‘None Of Your Business’ continues the theme of mixing it up during the same song with a dreamy guitar solo mid-song that grows wings and turns aggressive. A sharp shock to the system with more of that spacey synth sound during the outro. ‘The Only Place You Ever Take Me Is Down’ is a wonderful raised middle-finger to persons unknown, and a few minutes which most will identify with. Ross quickly follows the vitriol up with the seven-minute epic ‘Hammer’. Like ‘The Only Place You Ever Take Me Is Down’ before it, ‘Hammer’ seems to be a deeply personal track. On ‘The Only Place You Ever Take Me Is Down’ the listener had no doubts about the intent, but here it’s not so clear and each person might draw a different meaning behind the lyrics. What’s not up for debate is the quality of Ross’s playing. Handling most of the instrumentation himself, this is arguably Ross’s finest moment. Seven easy-going minutes with a fantastic keyboard sound that live on for some time afterward.

After the sprightly instrumental jam of ‘Tell Jerry’, Ross dials it back down for the stripped-back, camp-fire, hand-clapping strains of ‘The Loser’. So simple in its execution that many might give it a go before realising that it’s not as easy as it looks. Blackberry Smoke-meets-The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion, in 2020. Bloody magical, as is the smoldering ‘Leviathan’ which hints at exploding to life but continues with the theme of avoiding the cookie-cutter approach and stays on the path marked slow and bluesy. ‘Unforgiven’ is another top-notch instrumental jam and this time Ross tips the hat to his favourite guitarist and Georgia’s finest: Duane Allman. Would be interesting to see how this one develops in a live setting. The track is also reprised as a bonus track later on, complete with dreamy vocal harmonies that repeat the song-title over and over at choice points. A bit fuzzier, a bit spacier; far-out man.

The closing few tracks on the album are a thrilling fifteen minutes that offer up many different facets of Mike Ross. First of all the Faces-inspired strut of ‘Don’t Say A Word’, then the nine-minute behemoth that is ‘Shoot You If You Run’. The latter especially thrills with it’s pounding groove, wailing guitars, and five vocal-free minutes of lengthy solos, sound effects, voiceover samples, and general all-round free-form shit where the rulebook is launched out of the window.

Expertly self-produced with an earthy, organic sound, ‘The Clovis Limit Pt.2’ is an album that continually surprises, from a musician who, if he was a member of the Eagles then he would be Joe Walsh; an analog man in a digital world.

‘The Clovis Limit Pt.2’ is available now on both physical CD format & Digital release on Taller Records via Proper Distribution. More information here.

Review – Dave

Header image – Paul Winter

Check Also

CLUTCH release Transnational Speedway League on limited vinyl for the first time

CLUTCH are delighted to announce they will release Transnational Speedway League: Anthems, Anecdotes and Undeniable …

BLACK SMOKE TRIGGER offer “Proof Of Life”, Bruce Dickinson dates in May

New Zealand’s most rocking exports, Black Smoke Trigger have announced the release of their explosive …

Mike Ross joins Sons Of Liberty (UK) as special guests on their March tour.

Playing 50 minute opening sets, Mike and the band will be blasting through tracks from …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *