Mellow Down Easy

Independent release, 2009

REVIEW BY: Julia Skochko


If you herded Mellow Down Easy’s influences into a trailer, it’d wind up popping a few rivets. You’d have the Allman Brothers and early-era Zep...Aerosmith and Cream...hell, maybe even The Replacements, assuming they weren’t too hungover.

You’d think that many influences would be chaotic, discordant – or at least liable to wind up whacking one another upside the head with tambourines. What holds it all together, ironically enough, is The Looseness. A potent new strain of pot? Nope, although the results are similar. Cosmisutra is laid-back, chilled-out, cool as a cucumber, relaxed as Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Mellow Down Easy’s musicianship is solid, their production slick. Their spirit, however, is pure backyard barbecue. While my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Cosmisutra’s chill-with-chops vibe is an occasional liability, it’s also breezily refreshing. Remember the Fourth of July parties of yore, when one’s “cool” uncle would pick up a Strat and fumble through an off-key rendition of “Freebird”? Imagine everyone’s surprise if that uncle was actually pretty damned good...and happened to bring along a few similarly-gifted drinking buddies. That’s Mellow Down Easy, and this album is their post-peach pie opus.

The majority of tracks are laid-back, gussied-up blues-rock. "I Am the Universe" is a relaxed hip-shaker with blissed-out, squawling guitars. “Love Money” is a grittier, less-geeky Rush, an ass-shaker no less intense for its leisurely pace and psychedelic organs. “Crazy & Wicked” melds a snappy snare beat with a slow, slinky blues tango. In evoking Cream’s “Strange Brew,” it also reminds us of the disc’s primary weakness: mellow is well and good, but rock’s got a harder edge as well. Next time, hopefully, MDE will employ a little more thrust and a little less sway. If “Pure Gold” and its zippy, gritty guitars and cat-in-heat caterwauling are any indicator, the results would absolutely kill.

Cosmisutra isn’t averse to darkness, either. “A Thousand Pages of Ugly Letters” is a softer, more somber version of Aerosmith’s “What It Takes” (were it sung by Mother Love Bone’s late, lamented Andy Wood). “Undergoing Resurrection” is a mournful little regrets-’n-Fender number spliced with a campfire jam sessions (sorrow! Sorrow! Maracas!). And “The Great Big Melancholy” is amorphous blues-country by way of Steely Dan. Sounds odd, but the results are smoky and haunting.

The Looseness is a powerful force, and Cosmisutra is a summery, mesquite-scented pleasure. If the boys can back up their melodies with some yowls and power chords, the Great Big Trailer O’ Killer Southern Rock Bands may need to accommodate a few more partiers.

Rating: B

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© 2009 Julia Skochko and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Independent release, and is used for informational purposes only.