THE MUTANTS - YOUR DESERT MY MIND
I described the last release of THE MUTANTS as "Link Wray guitars mixed with bluesy harmonicas on an Ennio Morricone spaghetti-western punk rock(abilly) soundtracks". Not a turn of phrase I use that often, so I was intrigued to know how their follow up YOUR DESERT MY MIND would sound when it recently dropped on my doorstep.
The core of the band remains with Chris Constantinou (The Wolfmen/Adam & the Ants), Rat Scabies (The Damned) and Paul "Space" Frazer (Black Future/The Prodigy). However, the revolving door of featured artists continues apace with members of The Dandy Warhols, Mojave Lords, Master of Reality and Throw Rag ably assisting the band with their endeavours.
Instead of inhabiting the dark reaches of Tokyo's vibrant musical scene, as they did on their last release, this time we find them ensconced in studios in Joshua Tree, Mojave Desert. The different setting is also reflected in the style of music going off on a different trajectory.
I get an overall retro feel to the album with "Your Desert My Mind" and harmonica driven "Lucky One" reminding me of the quasi-psychedelic sound of Hawkwind in their Silver Machine era. Other tracks "Post Everything Blues", "Vultures" and "The Final Hand" have almost a dreamy Californian hippy harmonies. Whilst, on the other hand, "Fidgety" sounds like rock gods Free on acid.
"Night Bus to Krakow" has a weird, ethereal, feel, something that is continued in the drum and flute led trippy track of "Night Bus to Krakow (The Return)". Both these numbers, as well as album closer "Distant Light", would have sat well on the Apocalypse Now soundtrack. By contrast, there's plenty of distorted guitar work and thumping groves in instrumental "Machismo Pstura" and "Highway 62" to keep any rock fan happy.
Once again the band have come up with a completely different sounding album to its predecessor and should be praised for resisting the temptation of retreading old ground. I can only guess where they will go next, but whatever musical genre they chose to select, its bound to be interesting.