When I caught up with my good buddy and brother from another mother Rob Cass, the lead singer with Leicester band THE MIDNIGHT DOGS at Stonedeaf festival this year he said he had something for me; little did I know it was going to be the very first copy of their new album to review: seeing them recently at HRH Sleaze they performed a blistering set to a very appreciative crowd and they were treated to a couple of songs from this.
Rob Cass Vocals, Dan Harper Guitar, Steve Wonderwood Bass and Neil Drage Drums perform down and dirty Rock n Roll also with the sound of blues, soul, and punk all thrown in for extra pleasure. This is their second album and I know Rob and the guys have worked hard on this and are excited to get it out there to the public.
There is an Album launch at the Musician in Leicester on the fifth of October where the band will be performing along with others on the night.
The opening number takes you back to the early Motown days of the Isley Brothers and The O’Jays with their rockier numbers. You immediately hear the power of Rob’s voice and the great riff running throughout will get the booty’s moving, sweet harmonies and old school keyboard from guest Glen Hughes, a great start to any album.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TuKJFxyPZo4&w=560&h=315]
2. I’m With You
Neil’s hand clapping drum intro gets this punk powerhouse track off to a blistering start, showing the diversity of the band and that they can bring it on as good as the Clash or the Damned. Some great guitar work on the solo from Dan and that deep punky bass sound of Steve: this will get the audience jumping.
3. If I Lost My Salvation
Another infectious riff led track which has a 50’s Rock n Roll vibe and the added unique modern sound of the Dogs, with a wonderful back beat from the rhythm section, this is a great rocking number: a really tight sound from all the guys, and some ooh oohs to join in on as well.
4. Dead Man (Ain’t Going To Change)
A much slower mood to this number with Rob singing mainly in the minor key; it shows the wonderful range he has and this track especially gives the chance for the whole band to shine and once again to showcase the brilliant crossover they have with genres, and how their music has moved on from their debut album.
5. Until My Dying Day
I love the growl of Rob’s voice on this dreamy ballad: blues with a lot of soul, a brilliantly produced song with the instrumentals quieter in the background keeping the mellow mood.
6. Black Moon
A little bit of rock and roll with a slight country vibe and female backing singers Candice Dixon and Mellow Harmony Avstreih accompanying Rob beautifully, bringing another dynamic to the band.
7. Keep on Moving
Rock and Roll Sleaze in the Eddie Cochran style complete with Rob’s growl, great bass riff, and a 60’s middle eight drum beat, jump and jive to this one and enjoy another great solo from Dan, it’s something else.
8. Whiskey Bender
An energetic punk track that never lets up fast and furious from start to finish, with a great sing-along chorus and the band playing their hearts out: a real bar room bouncer.
9. Saving Grace
This is a beautiful ballad with Rob showing how sweet he can sing as well as belt them out, and it wouldn’t be the same without another great solo from Dan; the piano and the girls backing vocals give it that real vintage feel that this band are so good at.
10. LET’S GO
You want a song where you can go bat shit crazy? well this is it, “Let’s Go Lets Rock Lets Go” screams Rob, and if you don’t move to this, check yourself into a mortuary. One of my favourite tracks on the album it moves at breakneck speed and so will you, the lead guitar this time from Scott Cadenhead is on fire.
11. Centre of The Universe
This is the song where drummer Neil shows us his magic, his arms going like a piston engine on the intro, more rock and roll guitar and a honky tonk piano sound from Glen and a good friend, Darren Riley’s saxophone just adds to the enjoyment.
12. Take Me Home
The final track is a country blues song and a fantastic climax to a wonderful listening pleasure.
Hotel Mango is brilliantly produced by The Midnight Dogs and Tony Bodimead and shows how much the band and their music has matured, the diversity, the musicianship, but most of all their hard work is on show here for all to listen to.
Review by Dave Martin, @masterofmetal58 on Twitter.