In total, The Mutts sound a heck of a lot like every other Motor City rock imitator- a little White Stripes without the hype, a little Libertines without the crazies. Their homage to the MC5 and the Stooges is evident with in seconds of “Blasted”, the self titled EP’s opener.
With a heavy foot to the fuzz pedal, gain that goes to 11, and riffs reminiscent of 2002’s “The …” band explosion, The Mutts manage to convey the generic hodgepodge implied by their name.
Press on the band suggests that they united as “a reaction to all the shite rock and roll out there.” That “the whole rock and roll thing was all about the hype and nothing about the music…that’s where we come in.” A statement as such suggests to the first time listener that they’ll be treading in new territory. Instead the Mutts deliver cock-rocky speed blues veiled in scratchy lyrics and delivered with an extra serving of frontmanship.
That said, while lacking in any genre-breaking tunes, The Mutts EP, released on FatCat records, is consistent in its stripped down style and swagger drenched delivery. The vocals are urgent and echo the raw frenzy of a quartet of hormonal teens left in a crowded garage with some instruments and a beer ball. It’s the type of music that you’d expect in the background of a frat party or at a suburban music venue. It urges one to crack open a Natty Lite, play a game of quarters, and contemplate escaping to the Big City.
The strongest track on the six-song EP is “Neon Lights,” which despite its title, is not a Kraftwork cover. Murtagh channels Jim Morrison circa LA Woman and growls to a Supersucker-esque guitar track strummed by Bryan Shore. Lyrics lay claim to having more power than a national grid. If power implies “loud” as opposed to jaw-dropping rock, than Murtagh may be onto something.
The Mutts, hailing from Brighton, UK, are Chris Murtagh (Vocals), Bryan Shore (Guitar), Sam Burgess (Bass) and Adam Watson (Drums). The band expects to release a full-length debut early this year. Perhaps if they can expand their “power grid” into new neighborhoods they’ll stand out from an already crowded substation.