Indie [Release date 29.02.20]
The Mood Groove, formed by JK Northrup and Ed Balldinger, released their debut album back in 2018 as an outlet to create and record music that stretched their collective imaginations and to invite listeners to something a little different.
The Mood Grove band is completed by the rhythm section of drummer Glenn Hicks (Northrup Band, Shortino-Northrup) and bassist Larry Hart (Montrose, King Kobra, Shortino-Northrup, Fiction Syxx). Guests include on keyboards Eric Ragno (The Babys, Graham Bonnet, Fiction Syxx), plus three vocalists who have all sung with Montrose – Paul Holdgate, Randy Scoles and Steve Brown.
Frank Zappa is mentioned as an influence on the band (an artist I personally have not listened too much) and the intro piece mentions weasels, perhaps a tip of the hat to Zappa? ‘Loop Out’ is a funky monster, featuring plenty of guitar (shades of that great one album wonder T-Ride on this one) and ‘Peace Of Mind’ is as close to melodic rock as the Mood Groove stray.
Other treats include ‘Some Sun’, another one with plenty of guitar action and a bizarre bit of spoken Cockney! Ed Ballinger has a gruff vocal, which works well on the funky refrains of ‘Numb Tongue, Stiff Lip’.
Don’t expect a melodic rock album given the involvement of JK Northrup, however do expect plenty of musical marvels and more musical genres than found on most albums. They wanted to stretch their creative minds and sounds which they certainly do. Dip in, the music is fine… Oh and make sure you listen to the album from start to finish to get the full effect of the spoken word passages. ***1/2
Review by Jason Ritchie
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