This will always be a band that is more about the live show, but they’ve delivered another fine album.
The Mother Hips have been on a roll since 2007’s Kiss the Crystal Flake, and that trend continues. The Northern California band has been honing their craft for over 20 years, with guitarists/vocalists Tim Bluhm and Greg Loiacono achieving borderline classic rock status at this point.
The album starts a bit slow, though “Freed From a Prison” has a sweet California soul type of sound. “Toughie” is upbeat, but feels a bit like a discarded Grateful Dead track. But then comes “Jefferson Army”, one of the more epic tunes in band history. It starts as an eerie ballad about a Northern California secessionist movement in the 1940s, with the chorus ramping up to mid-tempo before moving into one of the killer rock ‘n’ roll jam sections this band is known for.
Bluhm handles most of the lead vocals but Loiacono stars on “Best Friend in Town” and “Shape the Bell”, two strong rockers that feature the duo in peak form on harmonies and intermeshing guitar riffs. The title track is an alt-country rock gem with some dreamy pedal steel guitar that fits the Hips so well, and “Rose of Rainbows” offers the classic Mother Hips California rock ‘n’ soul sound. This will always be a band that is more about the live show, but they’ve delivered another fine album.