John Mullins Band
...Famous Last Words
(Big Black Dawg)
First Appeared at The Music Box, November 1999, Volume 6, #11
Written by John Metzger
...Famous Last Words, the latest release from the John Mullins Band, is a veritable hodgepodge of organic, groove-rock sounds. Mullins leans heavily on the music of his classic rock predecessors. The most notable of these are the Grateful Dead and the Allman Brothers Band, though thereís more than a hint of Stephen Stills that floats through the air on many of the songs.
Mullins is certainly not a newcomer to the groove-rock scene. He and drummer Steve Frye spent time in Ekoostik Hookah before leaving to begin their own explorations. The Columbus, Ohio-based group also added keyboardist Nate Hollman, who had been performing with Jorma Kaukonen. Since bringing bassist Jim Wolfe and guitarist Chris Connor on board, the group has been able to gel considerably, giving them the presence to embark on monumental instrumental excursions.
Whatís particularly intriguing is the way that Mullins incorporates the Grateful Dead sound into his songs. Instead of leaning on the bandís older material, he draws from some of their newer selections. Bats in the Belfry has a slow groove reminiscent of Days Between, while Shadane bounces along a joyful groove snatched from Liberty.
This is perhaps the bandís greatest weakness. Much of what they perform is a bit too derivative of whatís come before them, but like many groups thatís often how their early albums sound. With time, the John Mullin Band will surely make some miraculous music. They just need to search a little more for their unique niche.
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 1999 The Music Box