Chickasaw Mudd Puppies // Fall Line // Album Review
After a mammoth hiatus and two albums, the Chickasaw Mudd Puppies have come back onto the scene with a stomping 13-track album ‘Fall Line’ which is due to be released on 7th April 2023 on New West Records.
This latest release is their first in 30 years, and after being under the guidance of none other than R.E.M.s Michael Stipe, they’re as fresh as they were back in the 90’s.
‘9 Volt’ lays the foundations with a beat reminiscent of Tiffany’s‘I think we’re alone now’ before vocals are blasted through a megaphone, leading to some serious fuzz on the guitar by Ben Reynolds.Add some hillbilly-blues drumbeats and a trusty harmonica, you’ve got yourself the perfect intro on this mighty album.
Slowing things down a tad comes ‘Preacher’;a track much richer in blues with a single beat, deep south vocals and the twang of a banjo, giving a more sorrowful vibe.
On a brighter note there’s ‘Roadkill’, which bizarrely has a much catchier beat to it despite the title and nature of the track. At less than 2 minutes long, this is one of many short and snappy tunes on this lengthy album.
Digging deeper to the band’s rock ’n’ roll side is ‘Flatcar’, which washes away the blues with rhythm guitar, a more prominent bassline and a standard 4/4 beat. A great addition to the album which has a 90’s feel to it yet still has ‘the blues’ in mind when it comes to the lyrics.
‘Birdsville’ on the other hand, was a highlight on the album with its upbeat drumming, classic 50’s Strat guitar and simplified vocals; a track that you can’t help but tap your feet to. A shame it’s one of the shorter entries on the album but still a great tune.
‘Little Man’ brings the album to a close and the longest of all 13 tracks; a total contrast to the rest with its mellow sound and clean-cut drumming.Although the vocals have still got that Americana tone, the baseline adds a modern twist to this track, and combined, they create a real ‘feel good’ sensation for the listener.
All in all ‘Fall Line’ is a mixed bag a genres to anyone who’s not heard any of their music before. Blues, rock and even a snippet of pop makes this album feel like a lucky dip. With vocals that are consistently entwined in hillbilly-blues, the Chickasaw Mudd Puppies have succeeded in uniting these with a plethora of genres to create a collection of mini-masterpieces.
For fans of The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, this album is a must and one that will never date.
For the Chickasaw Mudd Puppies, that mighty-long hiatus sure paid off!
Fall Line is out now viavia the New West imprint Strolling Bones Records