Mount Carmel: Get Pure
By David Maine 12 June 2014
Mount Carmel rocks. That’s all you need to know.
You want details? Fine. The three-piece based out of Columbus, Ohio, plays a stripped-down, high-octane form of bluesy rock, as befits their inclusion on the excellent label, Alive Naturalsound. Vocalist Matthew Reed’s voice is gutsy and raw, his guitar playing thickly distorted and unadorned, while the rhythm section of brother Patrick Reed on bass and drummer James McCain bash out the jams with the best of them. Track number two on the album, “Back On It”, is a stone-cold classic, a masterpiece of crunching riffage whose three minutes fly by all too quickly – it could easily extend into a 10-minute jam (and in concert, let’s hope it does).
Other strong tracks crowd the album, like “One More Morning” with its crunchy guitar riff and its Cream-era Eric Clapton-esque vocals. “Whisper” then has an anthemic chorus and gritty, frenetic guitar line, while “Hangin On” offers some serious midtempo blues-sludge. Even the 98-second instrumental throwaway “Bridge to Nowhere” is stuffed full of Roy Buchanan-ish guitar squeals. Sure, not every track is a masterpiece, like “Swallow Me Up”, which has off-kilter rhythms that never quite click into place, but these interludes pass quickly, and it’s on to the next riff. Long live rawk, y’all.
DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.