There’s a lot of the familiar Blacktop Mojo . . . mojo going on with the band’s newest offering – Static.
Review by Scott Harmon
Blacktop Mojo opens their new four-song EP “Static” with a melodic riff that sounds Arabic, like perhaps something from what is known as the Phrygian Scale, but it courses throughout the song giving the story an exotic flavor. Of course, the verses give way to some heavy choruses as Matt James sings “In the end, it was right in front of you. You can pretend. But deep down you always knew.” There’s a lot of the familiar Blacktop Mojo . . . mojo going on here, but I was pleased to hear this blending of something outside the box to go along with the bone-crushing heavy guitar parts I expect of BTM. If this was the appetizer, I can’t wait for the main course. “Watch Me Drown” is next up in the queue.
Where the storyteller in the song “In the End” muses over the destruction of a relationship, “Watch Me Drown” tells the story of someone in need of help and who counts on someone who for unknown reasons decides not to help. In fact, they turn a blind eye to the other’s circumstance, knowing full well the peril their lover faces. As their eyes meet, words are unnecessary; the singer knows they are left to their own devices. There is no help coming. Word of caution: Don’t enter into relationships with that sort of person. It never ends well. Interestingly, this song opens similarly to “In The End” with a simpler, quieter intro that builds to the choruses’ crescendo. Both are good, although “In the End” is perhaps a little more interestingly musically.
“Leave It Alone” follows with its simple acoustic guitar opening, with enough rests to allow the song to breathe yet create tension. It’s a very nice touch. At about three minutes in, a haunting slide guitar appears and it howls for a good thirty seconds climaxing in a furious blaze of notes. Lastly, “Signal’s Gone” is another acoustic song that has some nice picking in it. The song uses the failure of someone’s electronic device as a metaphor for failed relationships that reveals the band stretching its artistic wings. Matt James hits and holds at note about two minutes in that is really outstanding.
All in all, “Static” is a solid collection of songs by Blacktop Mojo that shows the band growing, not only lyrically, but musically and production-wise. They’re building an impressive body of work and once they are able to tour extensively again, their fans will be the lucky beneficiaries of the band’s growth.
Header image by @katarzynacepek
Blacktop Mojo is:
Matt James- Vocals
Nathan Gillis – Drums
Ryan Kiefer – Lead Guitar
Matt Curtis – Bass
Chuck Wepfer – Guitar