Article By: Taylor Waring ‡ Edited By: Leanne Ridgeway
Mothership’s ‘High Strangeness’, released by the one-and-only Ripple Music, is a mighty third effort from the Dallas, Texas trio. Oscillating between moments of pure fuzzy groove and heavy rock explosions, the album bolsters itself upon an onslaught of thick, rich riffs and layers.
While, at its core, ‘High Strangeness‘ is a classic heavy rock album, Mothership’s attention to detail and careful layering push the boundaries of what a trio can do. The album was recorded and mixed by Ryan Lee (Crypt Trip) at Fire Station Studios in San Marcos, Texas, with mastering done by Tony Reed at his HeavyHead Recording Co.
Sharing vocal duties, Kelley Juett (guitar), Kyle Juett (bass), and Judge Smith (drums), each brings a unique voice to the intergalactic table. The band describes themselves as “supersonic intergalactic heavy rock”, and I buy it.
We’ve got Kyussesque grooves. We’ve got stoner rock riffs à la The Sword. We’ve got twin leads and bridges you could convince me are from Thin Lizzy b-sides. We’ve got trippy instrumentals. We’ve got ripping solos with delay for days…
‘High Strangeness‘ Tracklist:
01. High Strangeness
02. Ride the Sun
03. Midnight Express
04. Crown of Lies
05. Helter Skelter
06. Eternal Trip
07. Wise Man
08. Speed Dealer
If you’re into all-star guitar players (like you should be), Kelley’s guitar playing is steeped in the heavy rock tradition. My favorite aspect of his style is how he’s ambitious (and talented) enough to execute tastefully doubled leads when the moment calls for it (check out the solo in “Ride the Sun”). He also exhibits a great ear for softer compositions, as showcased in the guitar interlude, “Eternal Trip”, which is awesomely reminiscent of Funkadelic’s “Maggot Brain.”
The rhythm section is solid. Kyle’s bass playing is deep in the pocket, and propels the album forward, whether it’s fuzzed-out or clean. Kyle also shows a flair for nuance and a taste for more progressive bass lines, especially in the title track. Judge’s drumming is likewise tasteful; at times he’s content to sit back and lock in, at times he’s pummeling away on the double-kick.
Many caught Mothership out at Psycho-Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago. They’ve also got a cover of Thin Lizzy’s “Are You Ready” coming out in November on Glory or Death Records‘ “Bow to Your Masters” tribute series [announcement]. The coolest thing about this choice of cover is that it’s the first proper studio recording of the track, as Thin Lizzy only released live versions.
If you’re ready to rock and you’re not messin’ around, you can check ‘High Strangeness‘ out on the Bandcamp embed below. Below that, you can check out some live show photos from our Editor (Leanne), when she attended Mothership‘s show at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, NY a few months ago.
If you’re into the whole vinyl thing, the album is available for purchase on both Bandcamp and the Ripple Music webstore. It’s also available on CD and digital download.