Electric Mary love their Mother on their latest album

I ‘found’ Electric Mary a little late in their career after I bought their third album, brilliantly entitled III, following a glowing write up in Classic Rock magazine. I guess before that, I fell into the trap of assuming all Australian rock bands fell into either the Cold Chisel or AC/DC categories…not a bad thing necessarily but there are a lot of those sound-alikes that do not meet the grade in my humble. However, having listened to III, it quickly became apparent that here were guys who did not follow the stereotypes and instead took true rock and blues as the basis and built their unique, heavy rock sound arund this solid core. I then went about finding out more about them…they are from Melbourne and the name came from vocalist Rusty Brown’s pilgrimage to Hendrix’ studio, Electric Ladyland, and its famous/infamous studio manager, Electric Mary Campbell. The calibre of bands that recruited them as support is testament to their abilities and quality of the live shows; after all if Judas Priest Deep Purple, Alice Cooper, Motorhead and Def Leppard rate them, there had to be something worth exploring. And so it came to pass that I shelled out for the previous recordings: not cheap or easy to pick up as over their history, there have been three studio albums, three EPs and a live album too…all worth it. And so it was with heightened anticipation that I listened to the newest release, simply entitled Mother.

I will start with the last track on the album, as it is the current single…Woman encapsulates the band’s early stuff (think Gasoline and Guns) but still has the updated Mary sound…great intro, riff, two solos and vocals add up to a short but very solid rock song that packs more into just over two and a half minutes than some bands achieve in a whole album and it sticks with you long after it has ended. Back to the beginning with opener Gimme Love: this is classic rock personified…no, it isn’t particularly new but it injects a new feel into this fabulous genre. It has a clever Manny Charlton sounding riff over the relatively ‘commercial’ lyrical structure. The surprise comes in the psychedelic appreciation found in the bridge and then the solos, that don’t appear until the end, are more than worth the wait as they fit together with their disparate readings of a similar melody. Hold On To What You Got starts with a clever build to the main riff and, when the vocals come in, it is as if Zep were playing Bad Company…but with a bit of added zest. How Do You Do It maintains that epic in waiting feel with twin harmony guitars introducing laid back verses, although there are some neat guitar figures weaving around the lyrics. The chorus is sung over a variation on the riff and then a modern era Purplish tinge colours the solos in a lovely way. Sorry Baby is next and, clocking in at over six minutes, it is a slower build with hints of Free in the chord work as the rock ballad the title suggests reveals itself. Rusty’s gentler vocal approach alternates with the gravel to bring due gravitas to the lyrics. The two guitars trade off each other in a majestic way before we return to the slow ballad stylings, and then the weight increases for the dénouement of reflection on the melodies and riffs. The Way You Make Me Feel has the odd hint of Little Angels but only in the way they capture the R’n’B laced rock, Mr. Jepson was (and is) so capable of. Its rapid fire drumming and solid bass over the riff and neat use of barred chords, and then the ‘classic’ guitar solo give this the impetus that early Priest were so good at. It’s Alright is next and heralds the classic, classic rock structure with the riff leading to carefully planned and executed sections…the almost spoken lyrics and the lead to the chorus anthem makes this a memorable piece that Bon Jovi must wish he could write and would be more than proud of…Proud Mary?!  Long, Long Day is the penultimate track and only the second to exceed the six-minute mark…opening all Floydian, then stabbing with a Sabbath riff before quietening down for the verses brings, despite those two references, a very modern edge to the Electric Mary style of rock…this is their Beyond The Realms in its gentle/heavy/gentle set up and it brings nearly the same grandeur to a very powerful song. The voice and guitar harmonies also add to the atmosphere and the closing solo with its clever hammer-ons round off the best track on the album beautifully.

The music here may be rooted in a different era but it is very much for today…the way the band combine the heavy rock of the 70s with blues sensibilities and produce a modern, accessible and high quality variation on the rock genre bodes well for the future. They deserve more attention than many pretenders to the throne that are currently being feted by the rock press and radio and, hopefully, this is the album to bring that recognition to a skilled and dedicated bunch of guys from the Antipodes.

NINEpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Track listing:

  1. Gimme Love
  2. Hold Onto What You Got
  3. How Do You Do It
  4. Sorry Baby
  5. The Way You Make Me Feel
  6. It’s Alright
  7. Long Long Day
  8. Woman


Musicians:

Rusty Brown: Lead Vocals

Pete Robinson: Guitar, Vocals

Alex Raunjak: Bass

Brett Wood: Guitar, Vocals

Spyder: Drums

Electric Mary love their Mother on their latest album

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