Gov’t Mule – [Album]

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Whether intentional or not, some bands are simply blessed with the ability to alter a listener's consciousness and bodily rhythms so that, upon hearing them, a walk becomes a swagger and posture will be caused to straighten proudly. The swing of a guitar, the crunch of a bass or a well-placed beat are all things that could be the catalyst that instigates this metamorphosis or it could be the snarl of the man on the mic that does it but, in the case of Gov't Mule's new effort, it's difficult to tell what which it is because, the band's got 'em all in By A Thread and and they all get shoved at listeners – who find themselves only too happy to lap it up. From the opening grunt of Jorgen Carlsson's bass in “Broke Down On The Brazos,” Gov't Mule stands up tall and proud with chins out defiantly; compelling listeners to do the same. Warren Haynes' rock hard and solid guitar calls them all to attention before he snaps into the mic with all the battlefield command of a seasoned vet (which, after fifteen years, he certainly is) as well as the soul of a poet. It's an incredible moment – were it a punk rock song, it'd be on par with “Blitzkrieg Bop” for sheer chutzpah – and everyone listening instinctively falls in line and marches with pride behind the band under their banner.

Without meaning to overstate the point, Gov't Mule seems to go out of its way to make it easy to follow along too. Through these eleven tracks, the band cuts a rocky but scenic and engaging path through their own highs and lows without knuckling under or melting down at any point; they just plough through and present their blues with enough attitude to make everyone throw their fists in the air. Songs like “Railroad Boy,” “Monday Mourning Meltdown” (where the band does anything but), “Gordon James” and “Inside Outside Woman Blues #3” all wear their incendiary arms in plain view as a show of infectious strength as they march past with lean and rough pride and a minimum of studio trickery. These songs are the ones that clear space for the more soulful numbers on the album (including “Steppin' Lightly,” “Any Open Window,” “Frozen Fear” and “Forevermore”) and, together, they make up a tidy parcel for listeners; from beginning to end, all of the ends are stitched tight and knocked out cold, it's the sort of record that locks in a frame of mind for the band to further explore on future albums.



Gov't Mule – “Broke Down on the Brazos” – By A Thread


By A Thread
is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

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