Manchester-based quartet Mohawk Radio, fronted by Bermudian Mia Page, are apparently now "armed with the studio EP that will take them overground." Despite delivering a solidly produced/mixed work of five rocked-up tracks, I doubt this bunch are ready just yet to set the music world alight. It's a semi-frustrating release, as it promises so much but, ultimately, doesn't hit all the marks.
For starters, Page's vocals are a mixed bag. She seems content to exercise the low-end of her range more often than not throughout the EP; however, her lower register voice is... well... just a little dull in execution. There's no resonant weight in her voice to drive the songs forward with any kind of invigorating rock impetus. That, combined with an ever so slightly nasal quality, and a tonally flat delivery on occasion, makes her singing not always pallatable to the ears. It's difficult to ascertain whether she's pushing her voice too hard, beyond its limits; or, she's not pushing herself enough and failing to truly let go with any sense of sincerity or passion. I suspect we're talking about innate rather than self-imposed vocal limitations here.
The songwriting is solid enough on a surface level, but tracks lack emotional depth, so there are generally no real hooks or affective qualities to connect with. Also, the compositions are a tad clichéd, but occasionally punctuated with moments where they deviate from their genre-derivative core. For example, the second song, 'Eyes Wide Shut' - a definite highlight of the EP, by a long way - has way more scope in its compositional heterogeneity, and the inventive passage midway through with a fantastic vocal line over the down-tempo, doomy grooves is first class stuff. This is where Page's singing truly shines, as she uses more of her vocal range, making her voice way more dynamic and engaging. It's what's missing elsewhere on the EP. She clearly has oodles of talent; it's just not ever-present.
Overall, the EP lacks the sparkle and bite that would otherwise elevate it to greater standout rock heights. With some work on those vocals, and a little more daring swagger thrown into their compositional pot, then Mohawk Radio might be more worthy of attention. They need to be more adventurous within the generic parameters of their songwriting; to push the boundaries a little more. As such, for the time being, 'Shoot from the Hip' is a collection of average and above average songs which makes it a decent enough, but not essential, listen.
SHOOT FROM THE HIP
Review by Mark Holmes
3rd Feb 2017
1) On Your Knees
2) Eyes Wide Shut
3) Ready to Love
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...a collection of average and above average songs which makes it a decent enough, but not essential, listen."