A lot of times, when listening to truly talented younger musicians, one can get caught up in the novelty of hearing a possible prodigy at work and inflate their greatness based on their age relative to older players. The funny thing about the Mobros is that, upon first listen, it might be hard to actually gauge their youthfulness. Their wide-styled take on blues rock sounds so fully-formed and effortless that their sound rises above many generational expectations. Camden brothers Kelly (guitar and vocals), 22, and Patrick Morris (percussion and vocals), 19, have created their own little musical niche, using a lot of basic ingredients: a solid two-player garage R&B foundation, a penchant for western/ rockabilly style riffing, drumming informed by a funky jazz/ calypso feel that never lets up, and soulful vocals that have a definite Stax feel. The sound is filled up in a surprising way. Absent a bass player, Kelly has got both guitar and bass parts covered at once, and if you think the idea of soul/ R&B minus a bass is a fool’s errand, then I suggest you check out the Mobros. The concentrated atmosphere of the final result can walk a pretty fine line; it’s music that is basic, yet heady. Cerebral stuff meant to invoke dancing – now that’s pretty cool.
“Walking with a Different Stride” is their first release and its ten songs are a showcase for the brothers’ unreal talent. Kelly has a wizened, hardscrabble-yet-smooth blues cadence that belies his age. His fantastic falsetto, especially in tandem with his brother, drive many of the tunes over the top, like “Excuse Me” and “The Fountain”. “Trampstamp” and “My Baby Walked Out” are near-rockabilly with fast moving countrified blues. Some of the Morris harmonies can get unearthly, like on “I’ll Try”, which also features some sweet picking. Kelly gives “Shake” everything but the kitchen sink on his guitar, throwing super riffs, hot fills, shaking chords and fluid single note lines at every turn. You can hear obvious influences from the blues (B.B. King, John Lee Hooker) to soul (Al Green) to bluesy rock (Chuck Berry, George Thorogood, Led Zeppelin). Fans of modern blues-based bands like the White Stripes, Black Keys, Alabama Shakes or a lot of the Fat Possum roster will find something here to dig, for sure.
The Mobros have not dredged up recycled sounds and repackaged them here. This is a compelling new form of musical release with a defined authentic Southern feel. Even if they were both 50 years old, this would be amazing stuff. If they are still going by then, their body of work will undoubtedly be phenomenal; let’s hope they keep walking with that stride.
Recommended if you like: B.B. King, Led Zeppelin, The Black Keys