With three studio albums, a live album and three EPs to their name (and "broken teeth, broken bones & broken records", according to the blurb), Aussie retro rockers Electric Mary now offer up their fourth full-length platter, 'Mother'. And it's their first since 2011's uninventively titled 'III'. However, with a touring CV that apparently includes support slots for the likes of Whitesnake; Judas Priest; Deep Purple; Kiss; Alice Cooper; Motorhead and Def Leppard, it seems this antipodean crew have kept the Electric Mary name alive and kicking on stages across the world in the meantime.
Just short of 35 minutes, 'Mother' contains a mere eight tracks, although two clock in at the six and a half minute mark; others hover around three minutes in duration; and then a couple in-between. So it seems Electric Mary aren't writing to set paradigms here; rather, tracks are as long as they need to be... and that proves true through the listening experience. It all feels very naturally conceived. Although, while there are no overt compositional paradigms, the songs unashamedly embrace all kinds of stylistic pastiche. There are plenty of classic rock idioms from the 70s/80s to he heard, but there's some hefty weight at the bottom-end, with a hard-hitting resonance that succeeds in channelling a whole ton of groove. It feels like a more resonantly groovy Led Zep, at times.
There are some great pacing variations throughout, too, where the band evidently feel as comfortable rocking it out on more up-tempo numbers like 'Hold Onto What You Got', as they do on mid-tempo pieces such as 'Gimme Love' and down-tempo tracks like 'Long Long Day'; the latter being an album highlight, for me. And frontman Rusty Brown's rasped vocals are the perfect match for the music. This man's voice is straight out of the early 70s heyday of classic rock hegemony, and cements the nostalgic, retro underpinnings of this whole outing. Likewise for all the musicians, actually, who axiomatically have both respect and reverence for the music from which they've stylistically leeched. Emphatically so for the guitars of Pete Robinson and Brett Wood - particularly their lead work, which is infused with a whole ton of nicely expressive wah-wah. Talking of which, RIP Jim Dunlop, who sadly passed just yesterday, at the time of writing. Long live the Cry Baby!
All in all, 'Mother' is a fantastic pastiche of classic blues rock of yore, all channelled through an arse-vibrating, groove-heavy resonance that packs a fair old punch. And it's a retro slap around the face I enjoyed greatly!
Review by Mark Holmes
15th February 2019
1) Gimme Love
2) Hold Onto What You Got
3) How Do You Do It
4) Sorry Baby
5) The Way You Make Me Feel
6) It's Alright
7) Long Long Day
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...a fantastic pastiche of classic blues rock of yore, all channelled through an arse-vibrating, groove-heavy resonance that packs a fair old punch."