Mondo Drag

Mondo Drag

Written by: BV on 17/08/2015 20:01:45

Way back in 2010, Mondo Drag released a behemoth of purely lysergic 70’s rock sounds on their debut, simply titled ”New Rituals”. Since then, their lineup has been something of a revolving door until they finally reached their current lineup, John Gamino (vocals/keyboards), Nolan Girard (guitar/synth), Jake Sheley (guitar), Ventura Garcia (bass) and Andrew O’Neil (drums). Throughout their period of replacing band members, Mondo Drag managed to record an album, mostly live as I understand it, which has now been released as their self-titled sophomore effort.

What the listener is then given, is not only surprisingly cohesive for an album crafted in a period of such change, it might just also be their stab at a defining piece of neo-psychedelic, 70’s inspired rock music. The seven-song album is divided into two equally alluring, yet quite contrast-filled parts, where the first tracks comprising side A of the vinyl are all gripping, somewhat fast-paced tracks and side B meanders on the hypnotic side of their musical approach; with all seven tracks sounding wonderfully progressive.

Opening with “Zephyr”, the band practically bombards the listener from start to finish with an up-tempo guitar/organ riff that’ll have heads banging and feet stomping in time to the gripping riffing. The vocals are surprisingly clear, even though they are placed low in the mix, adding a further emphasis on a more direct approach in sound than most of their psychedelic contemporaries who often either drown the vocals in reverb and echoes, or leave them so dry that they become nigh impossible to divert your attention from even though there are far greater things happening in the back of the mix.

With “Plumajilla” Mondo Drag dive deep into their 70’s groove, sounding like a very tripped out version of their contemporaries in Siena Root, with that same type of feel for the dynamics found within a simple, hypnotic riff. The alluring, albeit sparse doses of flute on the track add a certain mystical element to the track – ultimately providing a strangely folk-inspired element to be intertwined within the hard-rocking grooves of Mondo Drag. There are surprisingly few weak moments on “Mondo Drag”, but there are still passages that tend to linger on a bit too long for most people’s liking – even my own, on occasion. “Pillars of the Sky” is a shining example of this, as the otherwise beautifully crisp sounds evoking imagery of early 70’s Pink Floyd circa “Live in Pompeii” often seem a bit forced, as if they wanted it to be a 10-minute epic but couldn’t quite get it up there, yet they gave it a shot anyway. It is by no means a bad track; on the contrary actually, it just doesn’t seem to have the same vitality and jaw-dropping nerve that most of the other tracks on “Mondo Drag” do. All in all though, “Mondo Drag” is a compelling listening experience throughout and it is indeed a more than worthy sophomore effort to follow up on the magnificent debut “New Rituals”.


Download: Zephyr, The Dawn, Plumajilla
For the fans of: Siena Root, Golden Void, The Flying Eyes
Listen: Facebook

Release date 12.05.2015
Riding Easy Records

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