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Mr. Plow - Maintain Radio Silence

Mr. Plow
Maintain Radio Silence
by Mike "Bitchin" Bourgeois at 24 September 2018, 6:32 AM

That name again is Mr. Plow. Sorry, last reference to Homer's song but it was stuck in my head till I actually started playing the new album from Houston's MR. PLOW and had that catchy jingle blown out of my head by the heavy groove laid out in the opener "Sigil". Thank the heavens for my medical exemption, because this is true stoner rock! Heavy raw fuzz distortion, down tuned guitars, raw bass, and crisp drums give the feeling of lack of urgency, sit back and let the music melt your mind that was found in some 60's and 90's bands but is harder to actually capture than you'd think. Greg Green sounds like he put the bottom 4 strings from a 5 string set on a P-Bass to get that heavy low B note. It worked beautifully. "Samizdat" started fast, but quickly changed into another groove driven song highlighting the vocal talents of both Jeremy Stone and Justin Waggoner and their haunting harmonies. The solo section seamlessly shifted from 4/4 to 3/4 and back to 4/4 showcasing the obvious jazz influence of drummer Cory Cousins.

"Matchstick" is one of the reasons why I scored them a little low on the Originality scale. My nephew came in asking if it was the new Alice in Chains. Sorry but that was the thought I was having too. I had a good giggle imagining a Jackie Chan fight scene during the up tempo "Shaolin Cowboy", the moshpit energy on this album. I love the bass sound in the opening of "Johnny Gentle", perfection for this music! The guitar solos are nice and filled with emotion, not notes. The trippy opening to the title track "Maintain Radio Silence" was a great way to set up the head banging goodness of the main body. The guitar sound in "Hammer Smashed Face"… WOW! Can I have some more please? 6/8 for a verse switching to 4/4 for chorus in the finale "Memento" left me melancholic that there was no more.

Even though the song writing style is familiar to those of us who rocked during the 90's, it still seems fresh. Multiple timing and tempo changes smoothly executed with a heavy groove never left you bored despite of the slow beat of the majority of the album.  To be honest, I think this is a perfect example of what is NOT grunge, it has no quiet. It is loud and in your face from the word go! For an old time stoner like me, it defines the genera. By the way, I think this album is what is playing in Otto the bus drivers headphones, but that's just my guess.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 7
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Sigil
2. Samizdat
3. Matchstick
4. Shaolin Cowboy
5. Johnny Gentle
6. Maintain Radio Silence
7. Hammer Smashed Face
8. Memento
Lineup:
Jeremy Stone – Guitars, Vocals
Justin Waggoner – Guitars, Vocals
Greg Green – Bass
Cory Cousins – Drums
Record Label: Ripple Music
     


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