I don’t know if you caught any of the excellent shows on the BBC recently about classic albums and the enduring magic of vinyl? Hosted by an effusive and engaging Danny Baker, they had me going back to my dusty shelves and pulling out long neglected musical masterworks. “Nomads” is the kind of album that gives you that same warm, fuzzy feeling. It really should be discovered in a second hand record store, taken home, pulled from its lightly frayed, careworn sleeve and laid reverentially on your turntable, in preparation of blowing your mind.
If they had had a metal edition of the show you wouldn’t have been surprised if this had cropped up, as there’s nothing on “Nomads” that couldn’t have been recorded before 1976. It is quality that counts here, not originality, and everything Mos Generator do on “Nomads” screams of quality.
A lot of band’s playing retro influenced rock, especially stoner and doom, think all they need do is smoke a spliff, ape some Black Sabbath riffs, put their heads down and see you on the other side. Mos Generator first and foremost write songs, great songs. After just two listens I was familiar with every track and was able to sing along to many of the choruses. (Not sure how well received that was in Sainsbury’s, but I didn’t care!)
Seeing as the songs are so good the band don’t feel the need to hide behind a wall of noise or a blur of speed either. Their sound reminds me of Nebula, in that there’s plenty of space, almost a mellow, breezy atmosphere despite the obvious heaviness. Every note can be savoured and by god you will, as the guitar playing is faultless throughout. It’s nothing too flashy but every solo is like a 15 year old single malt, aged in sherry barrels to perfection, lively but smooth on the palette. You will want to play air guitar.
The other ace Mos Generator are holding is the voice of singer and guitarist Tony Reed. A surprisingly (to me) great mix of Kiss‘s Paul Stanley at his muscular and soulful best, rather than his hammy worst, and the wickedness of Monster Magnet‘s Dave Wyndorf. It makes me want to go and stick on ‘Creatures of the Night’, something I never dreamt I’d be saying before I started playing this album. And boy have I played this album. I can’t stop playing it.
Highlights? All of it, but special mention must go to second track ‘Lonely One Kenobi’. I don’t know if it actually is about the ageing Jedi master suffering a crisis of faith, but who cares. The sleazy grooves laid down by Reed, Shawn Johnson on drums and Scooter Haslip on bass and the aching chorus set my heart afire like Princess Leia in her slave girl costume. And speaking of Kiss, ‘Solar Angels’ feels like the kind of classic 70’s rock that deserves huge spaceship themed stage sets and Marvel tie-in comic books.
This album actually came out in late 2012. I need to talk to my editor about the Top 15 albums of 2012 I submitted – I have a very late amendment!