Devoured by heaviness, Detroit trio iron their blues and flatten it down.
“When sadness fills my days, it’s time to turn away,” goes BLACK SABBATH’s “Tomorrow’s Dream” which THE MUGGS faithfully cover on their fourth studio album, and it may be quite the case now that the unholy trinity let this strain of the ensemble’s DNA take over the whole operation. The band’s live record from 2013 closed the initial chapter of their life, and there’s a different, metallic entity now, with a traditionalist-alienating sort of licks. The group’s chosen genre still referenced in the titles, classic-style, cuts like opener “Applecart Blues” or the bone-crashing, 12-minute bonus of “Rattlesnake Shake” thriving on overdriven delivery, and while the dynamics are great, the tunes adhere to the “melodies to steal” proclamation.
Wildness in check, as it was on "Born Ugly", vestiges of funk still fill “Fat City,” yet here the ’70s template receives a contemporary, alternative edge and overstays its welcome, although “Spit And Gristle” boasts a nice interplay between Tony DeNardo’s bass and Todd Glass’ drums which is the piece’s saving disgrace. The grace lies in the two-part “Roger Over And Out” with its cosmic effects and catchy drift between electric and acoustic shores, and in “Blues For Mephistopheles,” where “the age of Methric” seems to allude to guitarist Danny Methric’s hefty riffs on most of the tracks. It’s not the standardly-shaped title boogie that, name-checking the scene greats, sounds strange in such a context and it surely is not straight up, but at least the trio’s patented humor is clear on this one. A transitional album.