Local Love: Mojave RedMojave Red, Photo: Courtesy of Artist/Facebook
When you look at the scope of a band on its face, you can see them as the world sees them and leave it at that. However, when I took the time to dig deep with Houston’s Mojave Red, what I found was a band that was nothing like the image they project. On their face, the band is a psych band that echoes the sounds of The Brian Jonestown Massacre with The Dandy Warhols tendencies. But when you dig deeper into the sounds that permeate their debut EP, “Creeper,” you find a band that’s closer to the likes of “Turn Blue” era Black Keys with hints of Brit rock bands like Charlatans UK and Supergrass. In four songs the band cloaks what is essentially a blues rock band with notes of psych elements in a masterful and intriguing way; making for an overall sound that’s deeper than it appears.
They start things off with the chill wave and shoegaze sound of “Ur Already Gone.” The track is the closest thing to psych on the whole release with pedal drenched guitar and spacey vocals that are cut through with a falsetto backing vocal. The song dips in and out of time changes while a drum machine like beat grooves the song along. While it reminded me of second wave psych rock, there were also moments where it felt like a song that was closer to some of nineties Brit rock with bands like Happy Mondays and The Stone Roses. They follow this with “Dare Not” where things feel closer to the slow step sounds of The Black Keys than they do of a psych rock band. The way in which the higher pitched vocals hum along mixed with the groovy bassline and the open ended guitar sounds feel closer to something more bluesy than psych. Even the meandering secondary guitar track that dances on and off the track doesn’t deter this feeling, as for me, it adds depth to a band more than it deters from their overall sound.
The third track, which sounds a little too close to the previous track for my taste, “Do It (Again),” comes on. The pace of the song coupled with a similar guitar sound make it feel like it’s almost a replicated version of the second song. That’s not necessarily a bad thing due to the fact that in the song’s dreary nature, there’s a more fleshed out guitar and more prevalent drum sound that at least showcases some of the band’s talents. However the fourth and final song, “Totally Jaded” feels like the standout song of the entire release. The more upbeat drums coupled with the spacey and falsetto vocals give the song a mix of all the essentials laid out in the previous tracks. The song has less of a disjointed feel and a much groovier sound than the previous songs. Rather than the vibe of the instruments hopping on and off of a song, they work in tandem to create a more singular and unified effect. The hints of psych and blues rock work together on the song giving it a tighter feeling while setting it apart from the rest of the songs on the album.
Overall the mix of blues rock, psych rock, and Brit rock work in the favor of Mojave Red. Though the release is only four songs in length, the depth that the band brings to it is something completely different from what other bands in Houston that are labeled as psych are doing. You can get your own copy of “Creeper” when Mojave Red plays at Alley Kat tonight. The 21 & up show has doors at 8:30 and a $5.00 cover.