The world’s a cruel place and unfortunately, childhood friends and jam session buddies rarely ever get to live the dream of playing on a stage. Californian band, Mondo Drag is living that dream however, and they’re doing a pretty damn good job of it. Having many years of experience playing together, the group has a natural chemistry that allows them to produce some extremely finely produced, high energy, psychedelic rock tunes. All that mouthful said, their latest, self-titled album builds on that experience and in turn provides seven great songs that practically pay tribute to the psychedelic scene.
The self-titled album opens up with “Zephyr,” which feels a little painfully typical for the genre but still entertaining. Keys, the guitar, the singing, all jamming in a familiar way. It’s just all to be expected. Luckily the fast paced melody keeps things refreshing. That said, the rough start mimics the entirety of the band’s style. True to who they are, Mondo Drag is a proper psychedelic rock band.
Mondo Drag walks a tight rope, risking falling into an abyss of psychedelic bands. The entirety of their album sounds like a throwback, without too much new. On the other hand, Mondo Drag carries a bit of a heavier style that often adds some darker themes to this trip. Take for instance, a mid-album track by the name of “Shifting Sands.” The guitars open, wailing out, the bass carries a certain sway and the song slowly intensifies. At points the band plays out an organ-like sound, when combined with the simple yet ferocious guitar, the track makes your heart race. It’s not terribly unique, but certainly a welcome twist. So maybe it isn’t fair to mark Mondo Drag as completely typical, but they still fail to deviate nor really do things in an extraordinary way.
It’s really impossible to criticize Mondo Drag’s album as anything more than just being plain –perfectly average. It would be pretty easy to take points away for a tune like “Plumajilla,” which features a tiring, slow paced, ballad portion. At the same time, “Pillars of The Sky,” is also slower and yet is executed in such a way that is much more listenable. That said, the classic cop out –it’s all subjective. Mondo Drag didn’t make anything new or terribly interesting, but they did make a fairly solid album.
With full confidence, if you yourself are a throwback to the 60’s you need to listen to Mondo Drag’s album. It’s a perfectly good psychedelic rock album and maybe a perfect archetypical example. Otherwise, it’s skippable –not for everyone, but still good.