The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

RAY LA MOUNTAGNE & THE PARIAH DOGS
GOD WILLIN’ AND THE CREEK DON’T RISE

 

 

Authentic? Anachronistic? I suppose it depends on your point of view. One thing is for sure though its Ray La Montagne NOT Ray Mountain… we’re a little lite one the rock you see. The opening chords of ‘Repo Man’ the first track here sound promising indeed. There’s a real basic feel to the music and I’m put in mind of the feel of real classics; maybe something like ‘Mother Popcorn’ by James Brown, but here a take on the Aerosmith version (but without the horns). It’s certainly something to make you stop and listen.

 

From there on in though there’s little in a similar vein, instead we get a further nine tracks that sound like they couldn’t possibly have been written after 1970 (Can’t be all bad eh?). But rather than the slightly raucous opener we get all mellow. The music, don’t get me wrong, is beautifully played and put together; and sounds really organic but the tempo and style is more in-keeping with performers like Gram Parsons and CSN than any of their rockier cousins.

 

Self-produced albums may get you closer to the artist but the trouble here is that we get nothing really new. I’ve played this a few times now and half of me thinks this is a great album, the other half is deeply frustrated that it all kind of sounds pretty much the same.

 

Sure the band play great (they should do they are all seasoned veteran session musicians) but it’s all a little contrived and smells a little like a gathering of musos; and while there is plenty of richness and depth here you get the feeling that the album could have been made without anyone once raising their voice or spilling their coffee, let alone turning up drunk to a session. Maybe that’s what it needed? 

 

I like Ray’s voice with it’s very distinct sweet and savory flavour, but I know some who find it monotonous. Because here the voice is very much to the fore have a listen first. As far as the sound is concerned imagine Stephen Stills doing Robert Plant’s recent country catalogue.  There’s a very country folky singer-songwriter vibe at play.

 

As far a the songs go ‘Repo Man’ is both the odd-man-out and the standout track here. There’s nothing really bad on the remainder of the record, just not a lot that’s different. ‘New York City’s Killing Me’ washes into the title track which is then speeded up slightly to produce ‘Beg, Steal or Borrow’…


There’s other highs though, the beautiful “This Love is over” reminds me of Carole King for some reason, it’s a very laid back , very simple and intensely beautiful. 


With lyrics that range from heartbreak, to despair, to alienation it is a little on the melancholy side but the lyrics are well-crafted solid and very ‘La Montagne’.  If you already love the guy you’ll love this but ifyou only have a passing acquaintance you might be disappointed that he’s largely ploughing the same field. It’s a lovely field though.

 

Mark Rockpit