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The Mustangs - Watertown Award winner

The Mustangs
by Sergio Andres at 23 July 2019, 1:52 AM

I wasn´t expecting this, not by a mile. This release is not a Metal album, nor a Hard Rock; it's just an ear candy collection of tunes, which bounces in between country music, Folk and timidly  -here and there - some Prog.

Without chewing around the edges, let´s go to the tracks: “King of the Green Fields” opens on an uplifting mood; there are glimpses of SIMPLE MINDS (circa “Belfast Child”), some of the calm light-weighted AYREON and maybe, just maybe, some major key “Jar of Flies” arrangements. Everything sets the tone for this melomaniac ride and leave us wondering if maybe Peter Gabriel was dwelling near the studio (Think “Solsbury Hill”).

Second track, “Fields and Factory”, opens with a nice progression of voicings on the upper registers, then, a due key modulation announces that the voice is here, shifting from LED ZEPPELIN III tessitura to country detours. The clean and crisp production enhances the full appreciation of the walking bass lines by this listener. So far, this record has lots of rolls, yet very few Rock. On the third and fourth tracks, “An Easy Place” and “Love Will Pass you” by, the tempo takes some speed, but for my disgrace, the Prog flavor disappears.

“Going Into Town” goes full Country mode, which is not a bad thing by any means, good music is good music and does it proficiently, with pristine production, lovely pitch by the singer, including nice harmonies with his full belting voice. “Inter- Machine” passes somehow unappreciated, but it worthies some notes, for example, the panned guitars looping a melancholic arrangement, neat.

At this point, I´m openly missing some Rock, even for this type of music, because the dynamics tend to balance too much on the lighter side. “Kings Of Light” may be the only “rock” song this far, placed on the AOR department, which – again – is not a bad aspect at all, noteworthy is the Bob Catley diction of the singer within a rock context. Could have been heavier. “Watertown” stays on the mid-tempo, nothing too fancy, and lacks the hooks of the previous track.

“She Didn’t Get Into The Water” reminds me half Joey Tempest (“A Place To Call Home” record, 1995) half Bruce Springsteen, displays some nice dynamics with the open hi-hat but, for my dislike, never gets into the screaming FM mode that a Rock tune should have, because – obviously – this is not a hair record to begin. “Swimming with the Devil” suggests sassiness, according to its name, but it is just that. I think with a cross-over-to-the-mainstream-mix this could have been a proper AOR song, but it lacks that hair-pulling hooks that those verses were demanding.

Overall, this is a stupendous country-folk album; it just appeared - metaphorically - on the wrong mailbox, but it became a nice surprise and a recurrent go-to on some playlists since then. Handle it with an open mind.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

1. King of the Green Fields
2. Fields, and Factory
3. Easy Place
4. Love Will Pass you by
5. Going Into Town
6. Inter-Machine
7. Kings of Light
8. Watertown
9. She Didn't Get Into the Water
10. Swimming With the Devil
11. Looking for Old England
Adam Norsworthy – Guitar / Vocals
Derek Kingaby - Harp
Jonathan Bartley - Drums
Ben McKeown – Bass
Record Label: Skyfire Records


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Edited 28 September 2021

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