Gov't Mule - Mighty High

Gov't Mule
Mighty High


First Appeared in The Music Box, October 2007, Volume 14, #10

Written by John Metzger

Sun October 14, 2007, 06:00 AM CDT


An adjunct to its 2006 endeavor High & Mighty, Govít Muleís latest offering Mighty High neither is wholly fascinating nor is it completely expendable. Instead, it waltzes between moments of intriguing inventiveness and tedious repetition, often within the same track. Joined by Willi Williams, Michael Franti, and Toots Hibbert, Govít Mule applies reggae and dub twists to several cuts from High & Mighty as well as to songs by Al Green (Iím a Ram), The Band (The Shape Iím In), the Rolling Stones (Play with Fire), and Otis Redding (Hard to Handle). Yet, at the same time, the band also tries to retain so much of its hard-rock drive that it frequently achieves only an uncomfortable, stylistic blend that utterly fails to coalesce, leaving the album sounding unnecessarily messy and half-baked.

The other issue that plaguing Mighty High is that it redundantly ruminates upon a very small set of themes, stretching what could have been an effective EP into an overly generous, 67-minute excursion. The bass line that drives Iím a Ram, for example, also propels So Ram, So Rong and Plasticine Era. Similarly, the politically charged components of Unring the Bell are used to fuel Rebel with a Cause as well as Unblow Your Horn, Unthrow that Spear, and Reblow Your Mind. There are clear highlights among the many iterations, but the inclusion of all of them serves only to diminish the overall quality of the collection.

Nevertheless, Mighty High isnít without its charms. On Rebel with a Cause, for example, Williams builds upon the sentiments that Warren Haynes had expressed in Unring the Bell, and the new interpretation forged by their collaboration sounds as if it would provide the perfect segue, both musically and lyrically, into Bob Marleyís Get Up, Stand Up. Likewise, in between Frantiís unimaginative raps on Play with Fire, the ensemble delves into a heady, deep-space jam that is sublime, while Reblow Your Mind boasts some truly tasty guitar work from Haynes. Even so, itís rather difficult to recommend Mighty High to anyone other than Govít Muleís most adoring fans because its moments of pristine clarity are so few and far between. starstar Ĺ

Mighty High is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!


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