Every. Good. Word. I. Know.
Seriously, longtime followers of Blacktop Mojo already know and if you don’t follow these Texas rockers, then you, dear reader, are missing out. So pay attention!
Let’s just kick right off into this 12-song masterpiece….
The first track is on Blacktop Mojo’s Self-Titled Album is “Wicked Woman” and that down and dirty rock that you’ve come to love from Blacktop Mojo is SO, SO alive and well! This little ditty has a hook that could catch whales, and your body is going to want to jump around like a hooked fish too. In fact, I may give an award to anyone who can listen all the way through without at least tapping a foot! All I can say about the pre-chorus vocals and in the middle 8 is HOT DAMN! The guitar solo is the cherry on top and this is just the first track!
Next up, a sci-fi-like intro segues into another ass-kickin’ hook in “Bed Tundy”. Those vocals crawl right inside and do magical things! I’m in love with “crystal clear lucidity”, along with the rest of the lyrics, and “Bed Tundy” is such a great title. Of course, the mad skills on the guitar pays more than just homage. It’s hugely impressive how the songs on this album are organic, yet polished too, with just the right amount of grit.
“Latex” the third track takes you deeper into the honky-tonkin rock that makes this band such a favorite to so many. It feels like your favorite hole in the wall at the end of a long night. And I’m now going to be referring to Blacktop Mojo as the Doctors of Hooks. They show expertise when it comes to space too, they really know how to let things breathe, without getting too breathy – if that makes sense.
“Rewind” is a rainy-day Sunday song. It’s not too heavy, not too light, a little melancholy, but hopeful at the same time – a brilliant dichotomy. This band has reached that sort of communion where I bet they can read each other’s minds – on and off stage. In other words, a perfect bandmanship (yes, I made that word up). As incredibly talented and seasoned as they are, they’ve left their egos at the door and do what’s best for the song (No showboating here!).
We’ve all felt the way “Jealousy” is about at some point in our lives. The effects are creative and thoughtful. This song and the entire album is mixed superbly. I appreciate how the drums are the backbone of the songs, yet subtle in the mix to allow the vocals and guitars to also shine through.
With “Make Believe” we’re treated to some acoustic action with some super sweet Spanish guitar and soft, dreamy vocals. While this was just a momentary interlude, I wanted more!
Now, the Doctors of Hooks are also the Kings of Transitions. This royalty is highlighted in “Darlin’ I Won’t Tell”. The transitions flow as smooth as silk through every change-up. This song has a late night in the desert vibe, with an eerie-ish guitar that twists and turns languidly throughout the choruses – exquisite!
“Do It For The Money” gets straight to the point with being down and dirty. I very much dig the sludge of this one, and the vocals fit into that every bit as much. The reach in the guitar hits the spot too, while the middle 8 sets the whole song on fire. I also have to mention that the half-step notes give this one a beautifully evil tone!
“Hold Me Down” shows off the bread-and-butter tone for the vocals. Not to say that Matt James can’t sing the phonebook, he may have invented it…, so any tone sounds amazing, this one is just ridiculously great. This song is exquisitely simple with just 2 chords and chilled-out drums. It’s sexy, sultry and Hallelujah!!! I’ve been waiting forever for another good rock love song! I’m gonna turn the lights down, grab my man and dance – yea…. that’s it…… – dance….
And, perfect timing – Cough. Oh, I mean the song title, “Cough”. This track starts off a little differently, with sort of a drone-y guitar riff (genius!) These guys know how to play with the negative space and I deeply appreciate that. The wah and reverb action is SWEET!
Coming in on the more ominous side, “Stratus Melancholia” is slower and has tons of breathability. The vocals are so vulnerable, leaving nothing to hide behind and there is no need to hide! . The effects make my arm hairs raise (that’s a good thing).
The final track, aptly named “Tail Lights” brings just a touch of an island vibe. The rasp in the higher notes is out of this world and the guitar cries just as beautifully. You can check out the video and experience this song for yourself toward the end of this article.
Thank you Blacktop Mojo, Doctors of Hooks, Kings of Transitions! You’ve created the type of album that will play on and be a favorite through the generations!
Blacktop Mojo is:
- Matt James – Vocals
- Ryan Kiefer – Guitar
- Chuck Wepfer – Guitar
- Matt Curtis – Bass
- Nathan Gillis – Drums
Get the Album:
Blacktop Mojo Tour Dates:
08/21 @ The Red Shed – Hutchinson, KS
08/22 @ Jakes – Lubbock, TX
09/03 @ Art Theater – Hobart, IN
09/04 @ Wisconsin Harley-Davidson – Oconomowoc, WI
09/05 @ Diamond Concert Hall – Louisville, KY
And, as promised, the “Tail Lights” Video:
Check out the Interview!