Melbourne Rock band Electric Mary release their fourth studio album ‘Mother’ this Friday 15th February via Listenable Records. The five-piece consisting of Rusty Brown (lead vocals), Pete Robinson (guitar, vocals), Alex Raunjak (bass), Brett Wood (guitar, vocals) and Paul 'Spyda' Marrett (drums), have been around for ten years, globally renowned for their explosive brain-bending live performances and are regarded as one of, if not the best live bands in Oz. Indeed, the band has held their own while sharing the world’s stages with some of the most revered names in Hard Rock. Whitesnake took them on the road, Judas Priest asked them to support, Deep Purple had them in stadiums. Kiss, Alice Cooper, Motorhead, Def Leppard all followed and even after ten years on the road Electric Mary continue to impress Rock music fans and media across the planet.
'Mother' follows their previous milestone album ‘III’, released way back in 2011, preceded by 2008's 'Down To The Bone' and before that 2004's 'Four Hands High'. Throw in another five EP's and a live album for good measure, and it's fair to say these guys have consistently over time put in a quality Classic Rock shift. Consequently, their brand of take no prisoners Rock 'n" Roll has understandably seen their fans licking their lips in anticipation at this long awaited follow-up, not only in expectation of it being as ground-breaking as the band's previous discography, but also deservedly propelling them to that next level.
Brown's explosive opening vocal on 'Gimme Love' is an immediate indication that these Oz Rockers have not lost any of their undoubted energy. Robinson's driving riff and solo, with a twist off Psychedelic Space Rock, is definitely the offspring of Zeppelin and Montrose, and even though, for mine, this rocker ends a bit prematurely, this has the label of "see you down the front" wrapped all over it. There's no let up in the head banging Hard Rock of 'Hold Onto What You Got'. Packed into an amazing three minutes, Rusty's vocal sounds like a delightful hybrid of Plant and Dan McCafferty, once again complemented by some awesome, succinct fret work. Unapologetically, the pace slows down for the Blues Rock of 'How Do You Do It'. The story goes that Brown named the band after visiting Jim Hendrix's Electric Lady Record Studios in New York. That's where he met studio manager "Electric" Mary Campbell and you can guess the rest. Suffice to say that both Jimi and Mary would be blown away with the construction of this track, that doffs its cap to the master with some more superb guitar riffs and salvos plus another powerful, vocal from Rusty. Another slow one, the second longest track on the album, is 'Sorry Baby'. No need to be sorry as the song neatly builds around Raunjak's cool bass and Spyda's exceptional sticks, before the killer guitars of Robinson and Wood kick in, not forgetting Brown's outstanding vocals of course. The track just goes to prove that Classic Rock doesn't need to be played at one hundred miles per hour.
Don't panic! The next track, 'The Way You Make Me Feel', doesn't mean that Rusty and the boys have gone all "Jacko" on us. However, following an up-tempo drum and guitar intro, Pete and Brett's wonderful guitar harmonies are very reminiscent of Thin Lizzy, with Rusty's vocals again reminding me of Nazareth. Robinson's opening riff on 'It's Alright' leads into an excellent spoken vocal delivery from Brown - think of a slower Billy Joel's 'We Didn’t Start The Fire' - before it explodes into a killer chorus of "It's Alright", another cleverly constructed song with its fuzzy guitar solo plus the versatile Rusty sounding a tad like Rod during his Faces era. Most probably the stand out for mine from the album so far. But hold on - what do we have here? The longest track on the album, the appropriately named 'Long Long Day', with the vibe of its intro smacking of 'No Quarter', with a fitting riff to match, sees another slower vocal delivery from Brown, before Robinson lets loose with an incredible solo on this ultimate headbanger, equally matched by its powerful vocal climax. Wow. From the longest to the shortest track on the album. Their single 'Woman' sees Spyda picking up the pace, as Rusty steps back into Plant mode, not to be outdone by the fuzzy Montrose sounding tones of Pete and Brett. A real stormer to finish off the album, which was engineered and mixed by Ricki Rae. To quote Brown "Music has always had something to say when it comes to relationships. This is two and a half minutes of rip-roaring Rock that delivers the punchline." Can't argue with that Rusty.
Just the eight tracks then, with a running time of 35 minutes, from a kickass band with badass sound. But definitely a case of Hard/Blues/Stoner Rock quality not quantity, with oodles of extra scope for taking all these classic tracks that extra mile during their killer live shows. A consummate win win and a real Mother of a Rock album. Hail Mary.