Hypertension Music [Release Date: 16.09.13]
Danish blues-rock outfit the Mojo Makers attempt to recycle 70’s blues-rock and give it contemporary twist. Their rough hewn and visceral approach to recording leaves plenty of room for moments of real spark and inspiration, but sadly their material falls short of the mark. .
And while ‘Wait Till The Morning’ seeks to showcase the talents of lead singer and guitarist Kasper Osman and fellow guitarist Kristian Hoffman, neither are able to stamp their authoritative mark on some indifferent material that is frequently rescued by Lars Emil Riis’s sweeping keyboard work.
One obvious problem is the mix which is far too muddy, with Osman’s voice lacking real impact. His diction isn’t great to start with and on tracks like the riff-driven ‘No Good’, he fights to make his presence felt over another powerful organ line. His phrasing is exposed on ‘Coming Home To You’, and he doesn’t quite have the range to shape a ballad that demands real presence. He’s obviously influenced by Paul Rogers but has a way to go before he can emulate his hero.
And if you buy into their distributor’s claim that they: ‘combine the sound and the inspiration from the old blues masters mixed with a flavour of 70′s soul and R& B sound’, you would be sadly disappointed. It’s a flawed claim because though this album does have its moments – most notably on the slow building ‘Up To You’ – even on that song vocalist Kasper Osman struggles to give it the grandeur it deserves.
It’s one thing to claim the likes of Zeppelin and Free as influences and quite another to pen material that is even half as good as the source material, though ‘Hold On’ does come close to evoking Free.
Mojo Makers are at their best on mid-paced grooves such as the brooding and rhythmic title track, complete with a restrained vocal and nuanced slide. The tightly wrapped ‘Let Me Take You There’ is also interesting. It’s a curious amalgam of a Mick Green style rhythm track and a funky keyboard groove that nicely offset’s Osman’s caustic growl. The song derives its momentum from the sparkling organ work of Lars Emil Riis who glues several songs together with a mixture of solo’s and significant breaks.
‘Red Lights’ is another track with unfulfilled potential as the stuttering rhythm, beefy organ sweeps and stinging guitar struggle to ignite a lyrically poor song. Kasper manfully tries to imbue it with the kind substance it so obviously lacks. He’s clearly more comfortable on the harmony parts of the closing ‘Light On Love’, the kind of laid back arrangement that might have been used more often on the album.
For the rest, guitarist Kristian Hoffman shows us a few glimpses of his fiery ability on the explosive wah-wah solo that rescues ‘The Devil’ from a pedestrian slow death. He also rises above the monster Zeppelin meets AC/DC riff of ‘Wild Moon Child’ with a coruscating solo and shred that rips through the track like a lightning bolt, to briefly take the band to another level. But too often these sparkling moments are like fire fighting exercises, in that they rescue a piece rather than enhance a good song.
‘Wait Till Morning’ is really a work in progress. You can hear the retro influences and see how the band is trying to reinvent them, but the album would be greatly enhanced by a better production and stronger songs. ***
Review by Pete Feenstra
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