Mamas Gun: Routes to Riches (Deluxe Edition)

Need a contender for one of 2010's most essential albums? Start here.

Mamas Gun

Routes to Riches (Deluxe Edition)

Label: Candelion
US Release Date: Import
UK Release Date: 2010-03-01

Why should the UK and Japan have all of the fun? That's what I wondered after first experiencing Routes to Riches, the debut album by five-piece, funk-rock band Mamas Gun (yes, the group's name is derived from the Erykah Badu album of the same name). Released in late 2009, Routes to Riches furnished the livelier sounds of early 2010 for Japanese and British audiences (and stateside listeners who ponied up the cash to acquire a pricey import copy). The demand for more Mama was so great that a deluxe edition followed only months later in March. One listen through Routes to Riches and there is no denying the band's appeal.

Fronted by Andy Platts, Mamas Gun has an arsenal of hooks that neatly pack the four to five minutes of a given song. Rex Horan's buoyant bass line on "Rico", the funky drum maneuvering of Jack Pollitt on "Finger on It", the rock riffs sounded by guitarist Terry Lewis on "Psycho Territory", and the kaleidoscopic keyboard work of Dave Burnell Oliver on "Pots of Gold" exemplify how integral each band member is to the fold.

Platts gives the group its primary identity (that's him on the album cover), infusing each song with a voice that's a welcome antidote to the Auto-Tuned landscape of pop singers. In fact, he gives what is arguably the best male vocal performance of 2010 on "Let's Find a Way". Without missing a beat, he reigns his voice in when expressing the nuance of a word and then lets it soar skyward for dramatic effect. He deftly steers the chord change at the bridge before strings greet his return to the final verse. It demands repeat listening.

For all of its considerable merits, "Let's Find a Way" is by no means the only highlight of the album. The roller-disco orientation of "Supa Sneakers", the live rendition of "Yes We Can Can" by The Pointer Sisters, and the Laurel Canyon by way of Hitsville USA quality of "House on a Hill" underscore the band's strength in a number of different musical environments. Need a contender for one of 2010's most essential albums? Start here.





The Top 20 Punk Protest Songs for July 4th

As punk music history verifies, American citizenry are not all shiny, happy people. These 20 songs reflect the other side of patriotism -- free speech brandished by the brave and uncouth.


90 Years on 'Olivia' Remains a Classic of Lesbian Literature

It's good that we have our happy LGBTQ stories today, but it's also important to appreciate and understand the daunting depths of feeling that a love repressed can produce. In Dorothy Strachey's case, it produced the masterful Olivia.


Indie Rocker Alpha Cat Presents 'Live at Vox Pop' (album stream)

A raw live set from Brooklyn in the summer of 2005 found Alpha Cat returning to the stage after personal tumult. Sales benefit organizations seeking to end discrimination toward those seeking help with mental health issues.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

‘The Avengers’ Offer a Lesson for Our Time of COVID-19

Whereas the heroes in Avengers: Endgame stew for five years, our grief has barely taken us to the after-credit sequence. Someone page Captain Marvel, please.


Between the Grooves of Nirvana's 'Nevermind'

Our writers undertake a track-by-track analysis of the most celebrated album of the 1990s: Nirvana's Nevermind. From the surprise hit that brought grunge to the masses, to the hidden cacophonous noise-fest that may not even be on your copy of the record, it's all here.


Deeper Graves Arrives via 'Open Roads' (album stream)

Chrome Waves, ex-Nachtmystium man Jeff Wilson offers up solo debut, Open Roads, featuring dark and remarkable sounds in tune with Sisters of Mercy and Bauhaus.

Featured: Top of Home Page

The 50 Best Albums of 2020 So Far

Even in the coronavirus-shortened record release schedule of 2020, the year has offered a mountainous feast of sublime music. The 50 best albums of 2020 so far are an eclectic and increasingly "woke" bunch.


First Tragedy, Then Farce, Then What?

Riffing off Marx's riff on Hegel on history, art historian and critic Hal Foster contemplates political culture and cultural politics in the age of Donald Trump in What Comes After Farce?


HAIM Create Their Best Album with 'Women in Music Pt. III'

On Women in Music Pt. III, HAIM are done pretending and ready to be themselves. By learning to embrace the power in their weakest points, the group have created their best work to date.


Amnesia Scanner's 'Tearless' Aesthetically Maps the Failing Anthropocene

Amnesia Scanner's Tearless aesthetically maps the failing Anthropocene through its globally connected features and experimental mesh of deconstructed club, reggaeton, and metalcore.


How Lasting Is the Legacy of the Live 8 Charity Concert?

A voyage to the bottom of a T-shirt drawer prompts a look back at a major event in the history of celebrity charity concerts, 2005's Live 8, Philadelphia.


Jessie Ware Embraces Her Club Culture Roots on Rapturous 'What's Your Pleasure?'

British diva Jessie Ware cooks up a glittery collection of hedonistic disco tracks and delivers one of the year's best records with What's Your Pleasure.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.