The website for the Mojo Preachers describes their music as spanning “Fusion Blues, Psychedelic Swamp, Funk, Rock and more” adding that they are “hard to pigeonhole”. Well, it’s hard to resist a challenge! However, if you want to label their music (you know it makes life easier!) it has to be said that this is a very listenable album, consistently enjoyable across all its smoothly grooving 13 tracks.
One of the distinctive elements that sets the group apart are the really nice vocals from Sophie Lindsay (also responsible for the attractive artwork) which are strong and authoritative yet also soothingly melodic; in fact her singing is reminiscent of Christine McVie (it is almost impossible to listen to the opening vocals on second track, ‘Tattooed Heart’, without expecting to hear a ‘Mac song to follow) with a bit of an added Jazz feel (not to suggest that she sings flat and kills the melody like most Jazz vocalists). Her voice is so mellifluous that she manages to make many vocal lines attractive when the backing is really driving the song (rather than just supporting the vocal).
The album is full of interesting instrumentation, particularly from the keyboards of Carlton Van Selman (great name), which are really excellent throughout, whether it’s piano, organ sounds or some funky synth playing, as featured particularly on ‘Easy (return)’ where he lets rip with a fruity solo (with a hint of Prog noodling thrown in at the death) as if we’re back somewhere in the 80’s and dancing under a glitterball in some dodgy nightclub. On ‘Take Me Down’ the band play as if they have taken up residence in an up market late night Miami bar, the song having a lovely Latin (they missed that off their self-description) feel and features a nice Jazz tinged (they missed that too) guitar solo and some sweet tinkling piano down the top end of the ivories.
Guitarist Andy Walker plays some very good, understated guitar throughout, with lots of subtle rhythm parts and tasteful solo passages, an example of which is opening and title track ‘Man Made Monster’ which features an interesting solo, that definitely fuses a number of styles (as do most of his solos); ‘Call Me Crazy’ similarly features some very nice harmony guitar work. The lyrics are definitely are cut above the average (which is not to damn with faint praise), which add to what is a very well recorded and sophisticated sounding collection. The author of the band’s self-description must have been having a Psychedelic experience when they wrote the line quoted above. This is simply good music – check it out.