Everything is bigger in Texas, and if Mothership’s third album High Strangeness is any indicator, guitar tone is no exception.
Seriously, the sound Juett brothers Kyle (bass) and Kelley (guitar) throw down here is incredible. The guitar tone is obese and fuzzy – but still clear enough to sound organic – and combined with the thick, crisp bass tone, these riffs sound tremendous!
Speaking of riffs, there is no shortage of them despite the album’s brief run time. Greasy stoner riffs abound here, but the boys from Dallas keep it fresh by injecting some fun NWOBHM-esque passages into the fold….and even a couple of galloping bass rhythms, à la Steve Harris. This mashup works well and makes for some incredibly catchy tunes. We seriously mean that too! This is fair warning that tracks like “Ride the Sun” and “Helter Skelter” will be laced into your brain for days and days after hearing them.
As mentioned, High Strangeness may be short but it’s also varied. It opens with the title track, which is a three-minute instrumental that’s aptly named as a simple, somber riff melts into reverb-drenched leads and swirling guitar feedback. Kelley employs the Iommi staple of double tracking similar, yet not identical, guitar solos which makes you feel even more stoned than you are (not that actually being stoned is a prerequisite to enjoying this release!). This style shows up later again in the aptly named “Eternal Trip.” Album closer, “Speed Dealer,” then devolves into an all-out jam session about half way through, on the back of one of those mammoth-yet-simple stoner riffs that we all know and love. The timing is perfect and that speaks for the album as a whole; nothing on High Strangeness is repetitive in the slightest, nor underutilized. We wouldn’t have complained if there’s been one more track but too short is almost always better than too long!
So, the only criticism are the vocals are the weak spot here. Both Juetts do some singing and Kyle’s cleaner style is preferred. Meanwhile, Kelley bellows like some Glenn Danzig/Lemmy Kilmister mutant. Neither are incredible singers. This is noticeable in a few spots but isn’t enough to derail the damn good time that is High Strangeness. 8/10