'Cooler Shaker not Kula Shaker'.
While not a fan of psychedelic rock per se, I found myself growing rather fond of this record as I listened on. Its opening track 'Initiation' bringing back memories of cool summers and conjuring images of sitting on a beach with your mates drinking a beer and having a laugh. Rarely do I find myself impressed with a band who stick to a single melody and play the basics to be safe. This is not to say that Mondo Drag are being lazy. The opposite being true, and impressed I was. Not just by the timing and cleverly placed hooks, but also with the sheer amount going on in each track. There is a flawless execution in the musicianship from all members that infuses every aspect of this latest offering. John Gamino's vocal simply oozes character coupled with a vintage keyboard accompaniment to Nolan Girard's and Jake Sheley's expertly played guitars. Nolan's masterfully placed synth hooks lend an incredible atmosphere to every track, while Andrew O'Neil's stunning performance on bass perfectly compliments Ventura Garcia's very tight drum tracks throughout.
An obvious high point for me was track 2 - Out Of Sight, which combines that cool refreshing summer feel with a heavier psychedelic groove. While this whole album ticks all the boxes, 'Out Of Sight' jumps out from the rest, closely followed by the more mellow 'Rising Omen' that makes me imagine 'The Doors' having Gamino as their frontman.
On a finishing note, many bands are signed by companies to make them money alone. RidingEasy's signing of Mondo Drag somewhat restores my faith that bands do actually get signed to labels because of the talent, they deserve a big pat on the back for that.
Words by Paul Clarke.