Album review: MOJO ASSASSINS – Mojo Assassins

MOJO ASSASSINS – Mojo Assassins

Artwork Media, Inc. [Release date 24.11.15]

The Mojo Assassins are a power trio comprising Ronny Griffin drums, Tony Calhoun on bass and vocals and David Zychek on guitar and vocals. Their collective pedigree includes Night Ranger, Stallion, Frankie Lee and jam time with the likes of Prince, Parliament and Funkadelic etc. The result is 11 self penned tracks on which the band manfully tries to find their own identity in a fusion of standard fare rock, funk and blues.

At times they sound positively tentative – as on the desultory vocals and sluggish arrangement of ‘Take Me As I Am’ – while at other times they sound like a completely different band as evidenced by the funky ‘She’s So Sexy’. And sandwiched in between the two is one of their very best songs, the Johnny Guitar Watson influenced ‘Time For Me To Go’.

They don’t seem to know whether to stick or twist with a funk-rock approach or go with the outright rock-blues of ‘I Can Make You Happy’, on which Zychek’s guitar tone broaches Zappa.

As always, a slow blues usually sorts out the contenders from the pretenders and the band do lean into ‘Somebody’s Going To Hell’ with real purpose and style.  The song also benefits from one of the best vocals on the album – presumably from bass player Tony Calhoun – while David Zychek’s ethereal guitar tone explores the outer reaches.

Suddenly they sound inspired, and the booming rocker ‘Haters’, proves that whatever the limits of their material they sure can play.

‘Mississippi’ brings a touch of country blues to their palette, and they round things off with a gritty heartfelt ballad, ‘I’d Like To Be The One You Love’, which like the album as a whole is good in parts, but ultimately doesn’t quite deliver.

File under decent band in search of better material.  ***

Review by Pete Feenstra

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