A smorgasbord of musical styles is what underpins Revolution Come, Revolution Go, Gov’t Mule’s latest outing, with the presentation of each course as sumptuous as the last.
Stone Cold Rage gets things underway. Switching back and forth from solid blues to raw funk, along with the searing, shimmering vocals provided by Warren Haynes, make the track a sizeable monument as to what’s to come, yet with Drawn That Way coming so close on its tails it is pointer in the right direction.
Drawn That Way is a powerhouse tune. One made for the live arena; its closing guitar solo a teaser for those who haven’t yet had the pleasure of seeing the band perform in person and a tantaliser for those who have. With Matt Abts rock steady drums and Jorgen Carlsson’s pounding bass, listeners can almost taste the testosterone in the air.
That the band have more than dabbled with political considerations are more than hinted at with the album’s title. Yet there’s no preaching going on here, just a recognition that the world’s changing. Recording of the album began on 2016 US election day and the result clearly had an influence on the final cut. Yet the subtlety of the messages contained within the track list is quite delightful.
Pressure Under Fire is a deeply political song, its lyrics – “Just another song about the same thing / so many have been written / by now you’d think we’d know better / maybe just one lonely voice / is never gonna be enough / we’ve all got to sing it together” – resonating with the beseeching pleading “We’ve got to get out of this mess”: a battle cry of the times? Undoubtedly, but what really strikes home here is the almost mournful guitar.
Moving away from the political agenda, The Man I Want To Be is an absolute joy. It’s hard-ground guitar sound, passionate vocals and deliciously smooth Hammond organ acrobatics as performed by Danny Louis making it a stand out in anybody’s book. The same can also be said of Sarah Surrender, the album’s lead single, which would not look out of place on any Otis Redding / Robert Cray playlist.
Revolution Come, Revolution Go has its own self-contained magnum opus too and it isn’t the magnificent, gloriously multi-toned, genre-free title track either. Standing at a little short of nine minutes in length, Thorns of Life is a gigantic number that demands power, emotion and consummate playing. All of these boxes are more than adequately ticked, with Haynes pouring every ounce of his considerable abilities into this one track with, it seems, just a little more gusto.
Think early days Deep Purple at their finest – though without ever being a parody – then you have a pretty close impression of what Thorns of Life is on an evocative, poignant level; its riffing, rasping guitar tearing holes into all that surrounds it, this is a track of pure magic to get the fists pumping, heart racing and pulse pounding.
The delicacy of Dreams & Songs is a million miles away from the git of the this, but nevertheless its rawness leaves an undeniable impression, its moving and personal embodiment accentuated by the harmonised vocals midway through, which cause more than a pause for thought.
Overall Revolution Come, Revolution Go is an album of some magnitude; a collection of affecting songs which covers blues, rock, funk and jazz-underscored cuts to echo across musical boundaries; a lovingly and superbly intoned creation that will have all those who listen to it begging for more.
Revolution Come, Revolution Go
Spine Farm Records
June 9th, 2017
Stone Cold Rage
Drawn That Way
Pressure Under Fire
The Man I Want to Be
Thorns of Life
Dreams & Songs
Revolution Come, Revolution Go
Burning Point (ft. Jimmie Vaughan)
Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground