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Blacktop Mojo – Under the Sun

Blacktop Mojo
Under the Sun
by Brad Pfundheller at 29 October 2019, 11:19 PM

BLACKTOP MOJO is a five-piece Grunge / Rock band from the small town of Palestine, Texas and they have recently released their third highly anticipated album titled “Under the Sun”. The band was founded in 2012 by front man Matt James and drummer Nathan Gillis and acquired the additional members shortly after and released their debut album “I Am” in 2014. They have shared the stage with many big acts throughout their career including DROWNING POOL, GODSMACK, and BON JOVI.

The song that kicks off the album is “Lay it on Me” and it begins with a smooth bassline and some tom hits from the drums. The guitars slowly make their way in and when they appear you get this sound of Hard Rock met with some southern Grunge. “Set it Free” begins a little differently with the vocals starting off the song along with a single guitar behind it. This tracks production is especially great because you’re able to hear all the instruments without the track getting too muddy. “Keep” starts with a guitar riff that becomes the foundation of the song. The vocal range mainly stays the same with what reminds me of 90’s Grunge such as PEARL JAM or NIRVANA. “It Won’t Last” has such calming vibes at the beginning with the guitars setting the mood for the song ahead. The bassline and high-hat go really well together in the verse and it builds up into the hook and then back into the guitar solos. I would have to say that this track is probably one of favorites on the record.

“The Void” begins with an acoustic guitar riff and then explodes into the verse in such a way that it is unexpected. The guitar solo towards the end is phenomenal and it incorporates the progressive rock sound into it. I really enjoyed this one. The final track on the album is the title name “Under the Sun” and it begins slightly heavier than the rest of the songs, but then mellows itself out as soon as the vocals begin. Near the ending has yet another guitar solo and it just rips through until the end. It’s a great way to end the record.

Overall, BLACKTOP MOJO has reminded me of so many different 1990’s and early 2000’s Rock, Grunge, and alternative that I can picture hearing these guys on the radio someday. They got some serious talent as a five piece and definitely use their influences very much throughout their writing process and sound. I feel like most of the songs followed a certain formula and made it easy to pinpoint when they were switching to the verse or when the guitar solos came in. Other than that I have to say that these guys aren’t half bad and I would recommend checking them out.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 5
Memorability: 5
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Lay It on Me
2. Set it Free
3. Come Get Your Coat
4. Keep
5. It Won’t Last
6. All Mine Now
7. Can’t Sleep
8. The Lashing (Ghost)
9. The Void
10. Under the Sun
Lineup:
Matt James – Vocals
Ryan Kiefer – Guitar
Chuck Wepfer – Guitar
Matt Curtis – Bass
Nathan Gillis – Drums
Record Label: Cuhmon Records
     


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