Their third album, Get Pure, is unmistakably similar to the kind of rock once laid down by British blues-rock musicians 50 something years ago. The sound is precise but not quite revivalist. The fuzz is ever-present but not so heavy that it detracts from the individual notes coaxed from their instruments.
But what stands out the most isn't any specific instrument despite an abundance of solos. The real music of this unassuming threesome is how the sound all comes together. It's both lush and lazy.
Mount Carmel warms up the late spring chill.
Guitarist Matthew Reed is the man who gives the band its big bluesy undercurrent while James McCain bangs away with a purposeful sway on the drums. On bass, Patrick Reed gives both of them a chase, sometimes landing on the tail on his brother's guitar riffs and giving everything a back-of-the-head vibe.
Opening with Gold, the band establishes the album's swagger early on with gold, women, and the attitude that comes with those luxuries. Mount Carmel takes the track back to the days when no one had any apologies for exhibiting a tenacity toward whatever they wanted to get out of life.
They back it up with the track Back On It, a relaxed rocker that chugs along until it unleashes an avalanche of guitar grooviness. Reed practically preaches the song more than he sings it, much like he does on Still Listening, an older track not on the album but still capable of capturing their sound.
Unlike Still Listening, the new material is heavier overall. Whisper picks up the pace, alternating between heady steadiness and fast fret work. The solos make up for whatever complexities you think the band might be missing.
No Pot To Piss is a hard luck story about the one thing you want when you have nothing. The blues influences are obvious, even as the band filled out the song from the initial demo leaked early last year. Its album companion song drifts away from the blues into a short, fun funk despite its subject.
Much like Back On It, One More Morning once again hints at an underlying theme. If one thread stands out as more pronounced than any other, the album continually grazes on what it means to be a man. Hangin' On bangs away on this note too, reflecting on heartbreak with clarity in hindsight.
The band brings the 11-track album to a close on a low note. While Fear Me Now is the thickest installment and Yeah You Mama promises to groove during live performances, neither are memorable enough to close out the album. Even so, there are more than enough tracks to keep it interesting.
Get Pure By Mount Carmel Rips 5.1 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.
Get Pure might not be an album you think to dig out of the closet a decade later, but it is the kind that will make you smile if you were to stumble upon it. Mount Carmel has a knack for knowing what it does best and then delivering on it.
Get Pure by Mount Carmel can be found on Amazon or can be downloaded from iTunes. You can also find the vinyl edition of Get Pure on Barnes & Noble. For an updated tour schedule, visit Mount Carmel on Facebook.