The history of rock is littered with landscapes and cities that resonate down the ages- Woodstock, Altamont, Sunset Boulevard. Should we now be adding err, Croydon to the list? Hard rockin’ Croydon-ites Mordecai certainly hope so with the release of their debut album, the does exactly what it says on the tin, “Undaunted”. “Undaunted” wears its heart on its tattooed sleeve: if you’ve ever had a passing fondness for Black Label Society or Alter Bridge then Undaunted will appeal.
Despite the Anglo Saxon origins of the band, you cannot escape the transatlantic influences here- clearly Mordecai have a love of classic American hard rock and metal. Their take on it is a stripped back, no nonsense approach letting the songs do the talking and dispensing with any theatrics or archness.
I think the record is somewhat let down by what sounds (on my copy at least) to be a quite flat mix in the production. Where the record ought to leap out of my speakers like Usain Bolt overdosing on Red Bull the aural effect of “Undaunted” is polite to the point of obsequiousness. This is a shame actually because the band’s adherence to the first rule of rock n roll- write a bleedin’ tune- is much in evidence. And this band like BIG songs and BIG drums and BIG guitars. There isn’t much wrong with lead single ‘Method in Your Madness‘ for example which is very much, as my father would say, a proper toe tapper. Closing track, the big drums and even bigger guitars of ‘Left Behind’ has plenty of gusto in its sails and it bowls along quite nicely thank you very much, heading for the door marked “epic”. ‘Lifeline’ and ‘White Horse‘ are pretty muscular tunes too, broad in the musical shoulder and backed by a solid, uncompromising rhythm section.
To be honest with you, there isn’t anything here on “Undaunted” that you haven’t heard before but I don’t think Mordecai are going to be one of those bands that constantly look to “push the envelope”. You know exactly where you are with Mordecai– they come on, do their thing and then leave you to get on with your stuff. There’s no airs and graces, no pretentious cobblers: just a simple sincerity and honesty in what they do. Even if this isn’t your sort of thing, you can at the very least admire the tenacity and resilience that is at the heart of “Undaunted”. As debut albums go, it shows a little bit of promise and you’re left feeling that you want this band to do well and succeed.
A decent enough 6/10, then.