Mission Brown – Brute Force & Ignorance
CD: 10 Songs, 37 Minutes
Styles: “Trainwreck Hillbilly Blues,” Guitar Monster Blues
Greetings from the land down under, the continental embodiment of summer: blazing sun, burning sand, crowd-packed surf and rugged turf. Over all, the spirit of everything wild. That’s the vibe Melbourne’s Mission Brown band brings to their third studio album, Brute Force & Ignorance. Featuring eight original songs and two covers (John Lee Hooker’s “Bottle Up and Go” and “Wolf Like Me” by TV on the Radio), it allows all-caps GUITAR to blast past the music’s other fine qualities (lyrics, vocals, and complementary instrumentation). Is this a bug or a feature? You decide. This three-piece ensemble has plenty of enthusiasm and a bit too much power, like a tablespoon of XXX Calypso Hot Sauce on your favorite grilled meat. At an outdoor festival or barbecue, it’s perfect, but for chilling indoors, you’ll want mellower tunes.
According to their press page, here’s their short bio: “Three-piece cigar box guitar band Mission Brown dishing up juke-joint style live shows across Melbourne town and beyond. Slide guitar, incessant beat and raucous vocals deal with drinking and other hillbilly-ish doings that all add up to a sh*t-kicking barrel of fun. Channeling the past but with a sound of their own.” Here’s their very short bio: “St. Kilda’s Mission Brown are a ‘trainwreck’ hillbilly blues band that will get your feet moving and your beer arm swinging.” True, but yours truly recommends putting down one’s beer before swinging one’s arm.
The band consists of Max Maxey on vocals, guitars, GBG’s and percussion; Gus Kelly on drums, guitars, banjo, CBG’s, vocals and percussion, and James Crosland on bass, guitars, vocals and percussion.
Mission Brown begins its third studio release with a bang-up rendition of “Bottle Up and Go,” paying homage to one of blues’ most hallowed icons. The other cover, “Wolf Like Me,” a rollicking, nearly psychedelic experience, makes up the tail end. In the middle are solid songs such as “Boring Life” (a redundancy in this time of COVID), “Expectations” featuring blues banjo and the growling gravitas of hopes unfulfilled, and “Complain,” which can apply to multiple people at once: partners, bosses, doubters, critics. These three aim to silence them all.
Is this CD your cup of tea? Brute Force & Ignorance is more like a keg of beer. It’s big, bold and guitar-intoxicating.