The boys are back
In the build up to this record, MG main man Tony Reed has talked about wanting the record to represent some real growth and change.
Literally he shook things up after the 2014 album “Electric Mountain Majesty” and in 2015 there was an entirely new rhythm section with Sean Booth coming on bass and John Garrett taking the kit, but rather more prosaically it does feel on “Abyssinia” that Reed is attempting to move the band down a slightly different path.
That’s not say that its experimental for the sake of it, or that Reed has forgotten the power of the mighty power his riffs can generate, more there’s a feeling of widening the sonics a little.
Not that you’d know this from the immediate get go. “Strangest Times” is classic Mos Generator, if you will, as Reed plugs in and suggests he’s “just a slave to the strangest times I’ve ever known” “You’ve Got A Right” plumbs the depths to find something brilliantly primal, while the opening triumvirate is completed by “Catspaw” which is something a sheen covered stomper.
If they are good – and really they are – then what follows is pretty astonishing. “Easy Evil”, which casts the “waves as a voodoo curse” is perhaps the highlight of the album as a whole – although the funky “Wicked Willow” which pulses along on a gleeful groove, isn’t far behind – before there’s little flashes of psychedelia on “As Above So Below”.
This track, you feel, is perhaps crucial, given that it marks not only the second half of the record, but its turning point too. “Red Canyons” which follows, is urgent and insistent and doesn’t let up throughout, but its almost as if the record is running to the desert, because the acoustic driven opening to the opening to “There’s No Return From Nowhere” definitely has half an eye on the open spaces.
It is a hugely ambitious, as well as hugely entertaining song, which is at once the heaviest thing on the record, but also filled with Doors-like intent including some fine organ, which only serves to make the heaviness of the chorus a real jolt.
Happily in its groove, now “Time And Other Thieves” has a more light and airy feel, but it’s the brilliant “Outlander” which closes things here and might just be where Reed is looking to steer the band in the future. Only he would know, but its organs and harmony vocals approach makes for a gorgeous, lilting and calming conclusion.
Last year, MVM saw the band for the first time and announced that Mos Generator were: “so good you end up wanting to round up a couple of mates, buy a Transit, form a three-piece rock n roll band and go on tour.”
That’s still the case, it’s just now that MG’s own travels on “Abyssinia” seem to be have taken them a little further afield.