Live Review Xpress Magazine Sept 10
Album Review -Canada
Generally I”m not a big fan of Blues, Roots, Folk or Jazz, but somtimes something in a band, album cover, or song intrigues me and I have a closer look – and sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised by what I find.
I hooked onto Murder Mouse by accident (you can read about how Murder Mouse killed my cynicism on my previous Blog ) because the album cover and band name piqued my curiosity. Its taken me Forever! to write about their album, Fill the Hole, (I’ve been swamped with music fests all summer) but I wanted to do their album justice so have listened to it more than a few times.. and with each listen have enjoyed it more and found more little nuggets.
Apocalypse Blues: the title says it all – a song about the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. This song has a very bluegrass sort of twangy feel to it but is very full of sound; the slide guitar just ‘makes’ this song for me and the harmonica fits in perfectly without being overpowering.
Wang Dang Doodle: written by Willie Dixon, this version is straight blues; laid back, smokey cafe feel to the way Murder Mouse has reworked it and I quite like it. The vocals stand out on this song as does the soft drumming and again that slide guitar (gives you shivers). This is like a soft dance song, an old time waltz.
The Coast: Starts out electric guitar reminiscent of rocking blues like perhaps Emerson Lake and Palmer, or Eric Carmen. The vocals are less twang and more rock riveted, and still crystal clear (which I love about this band – I can hear the words). The chorus has an oddly Celtic sound to it as all the voices in the band join in amazing harmonies and the accents are more pronounced. A song about the land, about the greatness of the land and what the land has seen over the centuries. The rock, the solidness of it — the eternity of it. I LOVE this song! It’s the standout song on the album as it’s very different than the other more bluesy songs but I LOVE it!
Jelly Roll Blues – a little ditty with old style Bluegrass honky-tonk vibe and sound. Liner notes say that this song is written by the band (not a cover tune) and they’ve nailed the 50′s country feel in this tune.
Morning Paper Blues: a very slow, mournful hang-dog sort of song about being alone and being lonely. Harmonica makes this even more emotionally charged and unique… sort of reminiscent of Oh Brother Where Art Thou mournfulness… another of my favorite songs on the album.
Thirsty Frank: uptempo and interesting – a story of Frankie speeding and living life too fast and too hard likely due to a woman and a broken heart, and the fatal consequences of those actions.
President’s Blues: this song is so well written its astounding! It’s very Pink Floydish in the opening bars but that’s where the similarity ends. This song is from the point of view of the President of the country he oversees. A short story of his days and weeks and life with press conferences, speeches, interviews with the media and visiting constituents in each stop on the campaign trail – and asking each town for money ,”if they wanted someone to save them why didn’t they vote for someone who could.” It’s a sad song too, “Used to be an honest man, that was such a long time ago.” and the fact that the one who makes him feel like the president is actually his ‘sorrow and strength’ – his son who calls him daddy.
Fill the Hole: the title track has heavy guitar and sounds like The Pogues; very Celtic in the vocals, even more so than The Coast. Love the guitar. I can visualize this as an Irish Pub song with the audience participating and banging their tin beer steins on the tables as they sing.
Death Letter Blues: a little like a Western movie soundtrack – big, booming, larger than life feel to it. Almost a Spanish or Mexican flair to it from the guitar solo, to the bass line. I can see Antonio Bandaras as part of this
Dirty Old Town: This song’s lyrics were added to brand new music written by the band; a muted sax in the background that I could only pick up with ear buds in. Love the sound of the vocals in this song.. its much like an old 1950′s Nero Wolfe mystery, trollies and trams, old cars, underground Jazz clubs.. Love it!
Walking On – like a Bluegrass waltz. The vocals remind me a touch of Leonard Cohen; deep, resonant, gravelly but clearer and more melodic and more pleasing to listen to imho. Another song that really hits me in the right places.
All in all this is an amazingly good album. The vocals are versatile – the songs range from Spaghetti Western to Celtic to New York jazz to bluegrass but all the songs have one thing in common – the Blues. Murder Mouse has explored a variety of Blues rather than ‘just’ New Orleans Blues or ‘just’ Bluegrass or just being another Stevie Ray Vaughn wannabe. This album is definitely something you want in your collection.
Donna Mair Nightmair Creative Canada
Next up were the Murder Mouse Blues Band, a group of experienced musicians who looked as though they had been doing it all their life. The trio opened with a stomping country-rock piece, and made their arrival heard. Intricate drum rhythms were coordinated well with simple guitar riffs. The song Two Times, was a mandolin infused foot-stomping number. The cutesy Doobie Doobie Doo and the Oasis-esque I Wonder were solid, and got the crowd smiling again.
Live Review West Coast Blues and Roots Festival
ALBUM REVIEW-"FILL THE HOLE"
It’s quite foreseeable that blues purist would give their nod of approval to the Murder Mouse Blues Band , as there’s an authenticity to the band (while often faked by other bands in the transparent hope of securing credibility ) is pretty obviously not bullshit.
Added to this touches of genre-spanning to include some tricks most often utilised in country and folk (American and Irish predominantly), and the resulting mix allows the Murder Mouse Blues Band to tailor their sound to suit each song-which seems to be their approach.
There are Dylan-esque rapid fire vocals atop of ragtime style beats, Chuck Berry style riffs atop a country walking bass line and so on . . .all within an overall “new traditionalists” context that seems to be more familiar in approach to the Pogues or the Bad Seeds. As it needs to be, the musicianship in this band is spot on. There are lots of chops around the place, but nobody is overplaying for the sake of ego, nor do the vocals drive the song, they’re in the front to be sure, but they’re riding shotgun.The music with all it’s accurate sounds and playing, is the key to why this band is onto such a good thing.
The variety is there, the songs are there within the variety, and the honest touch is there within the songs within the variety.All of the boxes are ticked with these guys."
Mike Wafer Xpress Magazine August 09
"Undeniably one of the strongest acts to emerge from the Australian music scene in recent years, a powerhouse band which delivers on every level, if you're heading to a Murder Mouse show, prepare yourself"
Live Review One Shot Press Feb 09
" What a sound, one of the best roots bands i have ever seen"
Last Call Magazine Jan 09Clap your hands and stomp your feet, because this here’s a revelation. Murder Mouse Blues Band, equal parts Bob Dylan country barn stormers, Tom Waits scratchy drawl and lyrical musings, fiery blues, and even a dash of the Pogues, celtic pomp and mysticism, walk a fine line of timeless sounds, and form a contemporary take on the influences that show brightly in their songs. The interesting thing about these broad range of influences however is that the band are located in Australia, which does not scream the musical flourishes abounding in their songs. Though, it seems being located on an island once home to prisoners, thieves, and murderers have seeped into the tales they spin, check out the haunting “Death Letter Blues” and raucous “Apocalypse Blues” for proof. Given the chance the electricity of this power-trio can take you under (pun fully intended) I suggest you let them take you.