We have to hold our hands up here as Mos Generator have previously passed just below our radar. More fool us, because if the rest of their back catalogue – Abyssinia is full length album number 6 – is even half as good as this absolute peach of an album then we’ve been missing out on one hell of a damn fine band!
Abyssinia kicks off with “Strangest Times”, a straight up, horns in the air rocker and what becomes apparent from the get-go is that Mos Generator have this retro rock malarkey perfected. Misleadingly front-loaded with a handful of great, big, chest thumping tunes – “You’ve Got The Right” and “Easy Evil” are highlights – that are full of monolithic reverb-drenched riffs and impassioned vocals from mainman Tony Reed, it’s actually during the second half of the album where things get really interesting. “There’s No Return From Nowhere” is ushered in with a jangly guitar motif before normal apocalyptic service resumes, “Time Other Thieves” ends with a gloriously spaced out segment and final song “Outlander” reveals itself to be a slow burner; starting off with sublime keyboard and guitar interplay and evoking the glory days of American rock.
Full credit must go to the band for their performances. The rhythm section of bassist Sean Booth and drummer Jon Garrett are locked into a primordial groove throughout. Tony Reed plays an absolute blinder as well, at times his vocals have the suble inflections of the late great Phil Lynott, while at his most melodic he can remind you of Dave Grohl; for the most part though he just lets rip with a good old roar and why not, it’s what this music demands. His guitar playing is an absolute delight as well, never overly flashy or fussy for the sake of it he unleashes crushing riff after crushing riff. His numerous solos throughout are blues inspired and tasteful, so much so that he appears to be a student of the Tony Iommi school of rock. The production on Abyssinia is also suitably old school and serves the music perfectly, as a result the album sounds like it’s coming to you straight from the 70’s….as was the desired effect we’re sure!
Avoiding the pitfalls of outright plagiarism – and repetitiveness – is no easy task when peddling this brand of classic style but Mos Generator have more great ideas and flair than the majority of their contempories combined and Abyssina is an album of well crafted songs that is simply a joy to listen to and an immersive experience throughout.
2016 has already been a stellar year for heavy music but Mos Generator have raised the bar again. 10/10