JJ Grey & Mofro’s ‘Ol’ Glory’ Exposes Fatigue
Sun-kissed but a tad drizzly, JJ Grey & Mofro’s ‘O’l Glory’ may make you want a beach bar full of cold beer and a scantily-clad goddess crisping in the jaw dropping heat, but leaves you with something a little less satisfying. They return for a seventh re-introduction to the real ‘mofro’ sound and that blend of cool blues.
There is no argument to say that this is not an album for commuting. It would be an insult to the album to even consider listening to it as you make your way to the tedium of work or to a stone-showered city. To truly enjoy this twelve track compilation, you must be occupying your time with something simple. A good example would be drinking southern comfort in the warm glow of the sun or slowly sliding your lips over the warm skin of your lover’s neck. Sometimes the most subtle and trivial moments can be made exciting and worth remembering with a little taste of music in-between the start and end to make you feel alive.
An artist, who can also generate a singing voice that tells a story about the narrative itself as well as the music, is a large part of successful song writing. JJ Grey adapts a 60’s blues/rock singing style, formulated over his reflective tales of current lifestyles which merge perfectly with the gospel blues synchronicity of the six-piece instrumentalists, almost form metaphorical side-plots with each sudden guitar screech or saxophone swell.
If it were only for a little more preparation of song order in the studio, the album would have blended together very smoothly and not encountered a single hiccup. However, the forewarning was unfortunately not shared, which begs the question of why the producer would decide to group a cluster of the contender songs at the start of the anthology and leave the runner-up material trailing.
A thoroughly discussed topic is brought to mind in which two opinionated outlooks converse as to whether the beginning or the end of an album ultimately defines an artist’s new repertoire. Music being such an opinionated medium makes this argument unsolvable due to an individual’s biased taste, whether that is based on quick-thought decisions, long, contextual-based ponderings or rhythmic foot tapping reliance. The most compelling views however seem to lie with the selected group who believe the beginning to be important, but not crucial. Having a strong song to open with is an intelligent move but to continuously overload the audience with the most noticeable songs head on, only goes to misguide them when the quality of songs start to deteriorate as the album draws to a close.
Undoubtedly a charismatic and interesting new release from the jazz influenced group and a successful addition to their already well-known status, but certain ‘love life’ parties can only keep going for as long as the host can, and in this particular case, the weathered host falls a little short of reaching midnight.
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Words by Nathan Roach