“Play like anyone you care about, but try to be yourself while you’re doing so” – a notable piece of advice from the late blues guitar legend B.B. King. Voodoo Six’s long-standing guitarist Matt Pearce claims that the songwriting completed for his solo venture Matt Pearce & The Mutiny’s debut album Gotta Get Home made him feel “as if [his] inner voice has suddenly become much stronger”, whilst also citing influences such as The Black Crowes, The Rolling Stones and Free. Whilst the acknowledged inspirations are recognised within a single listen, HEAVY is inclined to contest the strength of Pearce’s inner voice, and suggests that it is yet to be liberated from external influences.
Opening with “Scarecrowing”, a feelgood track of nifty wah-wah funk-blues bop, Gotta Get Home sets a tone of upbeat sunshine that is albeit tainted with almost jarring genericism – a quick click on the first result brought up by a ‘funk blues backing tracks’ YouTube search brings up an eerily similar track. Certainly, the blues has its roots in constricted musical structures – but that’s where we count on artists to throw in their inner fire and watch these structures light up with uniquely twisting flames.
From hereon in, we encounter haunts of the stinging swagger of The Black Crowes (“Ordinary Blues” and “Gotta Get Home”), the convulsive cool of Deep Purple (“Like A Hammer”) and the smokey serenity of Joe Bonamassa (“Some People”). The tracks make for charming and easy listening as a result – there aren’t many under the blues spell who would turn their nose up at a spice mix of Crowes, Purple and Bonamassa. However, the tracks produce somewhat of a Groundhog Day effect given their nostalgic familiarity, tired lyricism and lengthy running times (at an average of 6 minutes a piece).
Closing with the coolly rhythmic “Who Do You Think You Are”, a number of growling guitar from Pearce juxtaposed with chirpy keys from Jon Moody and interlaced with the velvety vocals of Acantha Lang, Gotta Get Home affirms its merit in accessible blues indulgence.
The blues rock arena isn’t an easy sphere to upturn – Matt Pearce & The Mutiny express more of an allegiance than a revolution. Gotta Get Home is by no means an innovative, head-turning album, but it does offer easy, breezy listening for blues fans.