Portico is the freshman effort put out by The Mudville
Project, a collection of veterans on the Tulsa scene who have
managed to put together a great roots rock album. Greg Klaus
(Fanzine & Simon Starbuck) is the driving force
behind the band, being the primary songwriter and the main voice of
The Mudville Project. In addition to Greg, Randy Patton (Hi-Fi)
joined up on lead guitar, Matt Brantley (Hi-Fi &
Simon Starbuck) on drums, and Grant Vespasian (Fanzine,
MadVerb) on bass.
There is a fair amount of diversity on this album while still remaining
within its genre. The vocals and much of the music sounds like Son
Volt's prodigy, whereas on other tracks it sounds exactly like
Tom Petty on vocals. This album seems to have a lot of influence
from alt. country and good old fashioned rock and roll which ends
up combining the worlds of John Mellencamp, Lynyrd Skynyrd
and Buddy Holly with an indie/roots spin. Great hooks on most
of the tracks, and some fine guitar, bass and drum work. This reminds
me of some of the great bands I saw as a kid at county fairs and local
festivals who still had originality, and were in it for the music,
unlike many bands out there.
"The Tea" is the opening track which has a slow southern
rock feel to it, with great chord progressions and lyrics. It really
shows off what the band is capable of before transitioning to the
more upbeat sounds of the next track. "Kinda Man" has that
early 60's rock and roll feel, both musically and lyrically. "Rice
Check" is where Glaus really starts to sound like Tom Petty.
This track is about a father giving advice to his son, saying, "you
can be whatever you want to be, anything but not like me." "Long
Road" and "Twice" have great hooks, and really bring
out the Son Volt likeness. Both tracks are that feel-good, down home,
Middle America rock and roll. "No Regrets" slows things
down for a bit using plenty of diminished chords for an introspection-type
track. "Love Song" is the most country song of the bunch
with Glaus singing with a lap steel in the background, transitioning
back and forth from a waltz beat to a rock beat. For some reason,
"Hector the Protector" reminds me of a rockabilly version
of They Might Be Giants.
Overall, this is a very strong recording with many unique tracks
that overflows with promise. This album does not disappoint, and is
well worth a listen for any fan of rockabilly or roots rock. These
guys have a lot of talent and I am excited to see what comes of their
next album, which is underway at this very moment.
1. The Tea
2. Kinda Man
3. Rice Check
4. Home Again
5. Long Road
7. Perfect Girl
8. No Regrets
9. Love Song
10. Hector the Protector
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