Review Summary: Mondo Drag is one of the top bands to emerge from this new wave of psychedelic rock. All tracks really stands out and it's something most people will enjoy on first listen.
Mondo Drag came out of nowhere for me, I discovered them because they were recently added to Roadburn and I read a lot of positive things. “New Rituals” has become a favorite from the first listen and probably will be for most fans of psychedelic rock. The album begins with the title track. The intro is really spacey, slowly gaining focus until it explodes into this sun drenched surf rock stomp with awesome keys. The vocals are very smooth but the real focus is on the music. Expect a lot of interstellar jams throughout.
“Fade Out (Into Space)” hits you immediately with a powerful groove and soaring vocals. This is definitely one of the best shorter tracks on the record and has great energy that dissipates in a slow feedback drenched solo. It’s easy to see the band’s influences run deep into the 60’s and 70’s haze of Cream, Pink Floyd, Blue Cheer and Hendrix. Speaking of Floyd, “Serpent Shake” and “Love Me (Like a stranger)” makes use of the organ in all the right ways. You couldn’t really ask for better production, it still feels very 60s/70s but without sacrificing any quality. “Come On Through” has a trippy blues vibe going on, it’s very catchy.
Mondo Drag has a lot in common with some of the new wave of psychedelic bands, both from the stoner rock side and the shoegaze side of it. Bands like Dead Meadow have a lot in common here and I’m sure some of that comes from the two bands touring together. Mondo Drag more of a diverse sound than many of their peers and they really layer the instruments well. While their sound is easily classified under psychedelic rock, there is a larger range of sounds covered here than the average band in this style. The vocals compliment the sound well and never overpower the music. The only downside to some would be the difficulty had making out the words over the fuzz.
“Black River” is a beautiful instrumental, the acoustic guitar, light keys and flute mesh together to create a really beautiful soundscape. Basically, the whole album is pure psychedelic joy and I see this getting heavy rotation as spring comes along. I know it has only begun but far as 2010 is concerned, this is my top album. This album is highly recommended to anybody with a taste for rock music in general.