Words by Russell Carstens

Whether or not you’re aware of it (I wasn’t until this review…), Mudcrutch was Tom Petty’s band for the first half of the seventies. After no luck hitting the big time, Petty struck out on his own. In 2008, Mudcrutch reformed and released it’s first album. Now, the brand-new 2 is their latest offering—an album of quality, road trip-worthy songwriting.

The opener, “Trailer,” is like Southern musical comfort food, in a Harvest sort-of way. The Crazy Horse vibe on the guitar solo doesn’t hurt, either. It’s a nostalgic story about youthful high school shenanigans in, well … a trailer. “Beautiful Blue” would indeed be the perfect soundtrack for hang gliding through clear skies. Over a subtle speck of Grateful Dead psychedelia, it’s sung, “I wanna wrap you up in a beautiful blue.” It’s hazy, lazy and reassuring. Clocking in at over six minutes, the song never rushes itself, yet doesn’t overstay its welcome.

The dirty guitars and uptempo pace in “Beautiful World” are a welcome change. With a killer feel-good hook, the song features a brief guitar solo which is double-tracked in its beginning, recalling The Beatles’ “And Your Bird Can Sing.” The lyric, “It’s a beautiful world / So hold me tight / I have to fight every day of my life” reminds us that although life can be a grind, it’s still a blessing if you keep the right perspective.

“Forgive It All” will make you reconsider any grudges you may be holding. Over fingerpicked acoustic guitars and a lush, pillowy synth background, we’re told, “People are what people make ’em … That ain’t gonna change.” So let others be, and forgive. “Other Side Of The Mountain” is a bit of heavy take on bluegrass, banjos and distorted guitars intermingling. Petty never reveals who he’s addressing on “Hope”, but the lyrics have very gospel elements. Perhaps he’s simply singing about something he believes in that gives him comfort.

Running about roughly 2:30, the speedy “Victim Of Circumstance” has lots of attitude, with a plead of, “Won’t you please just give it one more chance? I’m just a victim of circumstance.” Hey, who can’t relate to that?

Reprise Records
© May 20th, 2016



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