Hailing from Iowa, somewhere in the middle of the USA comes Mondo Drag, a psychedelic rock outfit and their freshly released LP, New Rituals.
The album begins with the nine minute long title track ‘New Ritual’, encapsulating all the different appeals this band presents in their music. With moments of choppy punk rock-like vocals, a mix of sharp, distorted and windy psychedelic guitar work and an enthusiastic keyboard melody thrown in for good measure, this opener shows what Mondo Drag are all about. Following is the bass-heavy ‘Fade Out (Into Space)’. Evoking Black Sabbath, it’s a short but catchy tune; a good rock and roll song.
‘True Visions’ slows down the tempo and drawls out from the speakers, vocals echoing out and around the intricate yet fuzzed-out guitar, before flawlessly falling into ‘My, Oh My’. ‘Love Me (Like a Stranger)’ is a lamenting love song with the same mellow feeling as Dead Meadow, but you can feel something crawling underneath it all.
‘Lights as a Feather’ begins with a guitar riff straight out of Mr Hendrix’s own book, as much as it pains me to make such an easy and lazy comparison, though then floats into a trippy keyboard jam of bizarre space-like noises. ‘Black River’, my personal favourite from the album, pulls out the acoustic guitar for some fast-paced flamenco-esque action, before the seven minute long epic ‘Apple’ rounding it all together with a Darker My Love reminiscent rock song laced with a pop sensibility to leave a lasting impression and one last elongated smokey dream-sequence to walk out of.
Mondo Drag’s New Ritual brings together spacious 1970’s jams with a punk rock aggression, giving it a contemporary appeal. The 11 tracks together create a harsh but romantic landscape that I can only imagine would take on even more life when witnessed live.