Casually listening to Wyatt Wendels show on Planet Rock radio a few weeks ago on my night shift my ears pricked up when ‘None Of Your Business’ by Mike Ross caught my attention. It had one foot in the blues and the other in a quirky Frank Zappa kinda way. So when I was asked to review the album it came from, The Clovis Limit Pt.2, I jumped at the chance to see what else was in store.
Of course the blues flows through this very impressive piece of work but there are a helluva lot of twists and turns to keep you on your toes, point proven by opening track ‘Thanks A Lot’. A spacey intro heads into a gargantuan main riff, shifts into heavy blues and an almost punk rock vocal rant is roared with no pause for breath. A u turn comes from a higher pitched vocal and an acoustic guitar outro. Current single ‘None Of Your Business’ has ‘Stormbringer’ like grooves only a lot more caustic in the vocals than the Deep Purple song and full on dynamics take no prisoners.
A grisly main riff propels ‘The Only Place You Ever Take Me Is Down’ along. Bilious lyrics snap and snarl like an angry dog and the ire increases with an abrasive guitar solo midway as a sense of calm comes from a keyboard piece that breezes in for the last quarter.
‘Hammer’ is seven minutes of heart melting music. A captivating vocal from Mike is backed by laid back guitar chords backed by sultry piano but the highlight is the guitar solo midway and a just as bombastic outro solo. Piercing guitar lines weave around seismic bass guitar pounds that makes for the eclectic instrumental ‘Tell Jerry’.
‘The Loser’, first single lifted from the album is stripped back to its bare bones with emotionally charged lyrics of “I’ve been beaten, I’ve been chained, I’ve been lost and rearranged. And it’s never made a loser out of me. Please don’t say I’m a loser”. I was getting a lot of Bob Dylan in the vocals. This song is mainly acoustic but flexes its muscles in the short but sweet choruses.
Lyrics ebb and flow around the hypnotic grooves of ‘Leviathan’. Keyboards take centre stage two thirds of the way in to add a progressive rock edge. Another instrumental comes from the Allman Brothers tinged ‘Unforgiven’. Guitar lines seem to arrive as if being added to an empty canvas for a Southern rock hoedown.
‘Don’t Say A Word’ has a put up or shut up vibe, especially from the belligerent lyrics that include “Got a message this morning, changed my view of the past,came without any warning (well I imagine that),don’t say a word”.
‘Shout If You Run’ is a sprawling nine minute epic to close this captivating album as it oozed like thick tar throught my headphones. Catchy choruses add touches of melody to the aural morass. The closing five minutes are 100% guitar overload, bringing to mind prime time Mahogany Rush.
This is the fourth studio album by Mike Ross and I’ll be sure to catch up on his back catalogue.
Album track listing :-
Thanks A Lot.
None Of Your Business.
The Only Place You Ever Take Me Is Down.
Don’t Say A Word.
Shout If You Run.
The album will be available on October 30th on CD and digital formats. Links to the band can be found below :-
Album personnel :-
Mike Ross – Lead vocals/guitar/piano/organ/synth/Fender bass/percussion.
Darren Lee – Drums.
Ricky Kinrade – Bass guitar.
Rob Millis – Organ.
Stevie Watts – Organ.