Monday 27 April 2020

MOOCH ~ HOUNDS ..... review

To "mooch" according to the Collins English Dictionary is to loiter, skulk or sneak about, usually with the intention of cadging a favour or doing something illegal. To Desert Psychlist's knowledge Montreal, Canada's trio of Ben Cornel (guitar/lead vocals), Julian Iacovantuono (bass/vocals) and  Alex Segreti (drums/vocals), also known as Mooch, have not done anything illegal but they well may have "mooched" a rather large favour in the shape of persuading desert scene legend Brant Bjork to head up the production team for their debut album "Hounds".

First off a big thumbs up to Mr Brant Bjork, Bobby Dupree and Joe Segreti for doing a sterling production job on "Hounds", the sound is crisp, clear and uncluttered with a real "old school" warmth that is often missing in this age of digital studio technology. Production, however, counts for nothing if you've not got the tunes for that production to frame and Mooch, thankfully, have tunes to spare.
By the time every magazine review, blog and video analysis of "Hounds" has landed Mooch will probably be sick to the back teeth with The Doors comparisons that are going to be inevitably levelled at them but if you have a vocalist with a tone incredibly similar to that of one of the founding members of the "27 club", well then that's something your going to have to learn to live with. Ben Cornel, as well as delivering crunching guitar riffs and screaming solo's, is the man who handles the majority of Mooch's vocals and although having a slightly wider vocal spectrum than the aforementioned Doors frontman his lower register is strikingly similar both in tone and inflection.
The band play somewhat on this similarity with "Hounds" opening track "Mantra", it's delicious dark desert vibe has an unmistakable Doors vibe, sans keyboards, and finds Cornel crooning like the true embodiment of the Lizard King over a backdrop of moody atmospheric groove. "She's A Black Hole" on the other hand finds the band jamming a mid tempo fuzz drenched stonerized heavy blues groove Cornel's Morrison-esque vocal backed in places by Iacovantuono and Segreti, the drummer and bassist's harmonised voices the perfect counterbalance to Cornel's more grittier tones. This mixture of heady stoner/desert fuzz underscored with bluesy atmospherics is what informs much of "Hounds", the band only departing from this formula for the tranquil mood piece "Lucid" and the Alice In Chains like "Super Big Things", it's a winning formula that works well for the band and should see them gaining many fans not just from the underground scene but also from outside of it.

Mooch describe what they do on "Hounds" as "pouring low-end distortion and groove onto the blues to bring some raw tasty vibes". Desert Psychlist couldn't have put it better.
Check 'em out ….

© 2020 Frazer Jones

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