The Peach Kings – Mojo Thunder

written by: June 3, 2014
Release Date: June 3, 2014


Los Angeles blues rock duo the Peach Kings blend thick, loud guitars with soft, eerie vocals on their new EP, Mojo Thunder.

Guitarist Steven Trezevant Dies’ deliberate, driving riffs set a solid, though often bland, foundation for Paige McClain Wood’s chronically breathy, anti-melodic vocals and vapid lyrics. The Peach Kings achieve a dark, bluesy mood that almost works on Mojo Thunder, but don’t leave much room for experimentation on future releases.

Mojo Thunder gets off to a healthy start, but fails to maintain its momentum. While the bright, clean chords that introduce the title track suggest an upbeat, garage rock record, the distorted, guttural bass that follows better indicates the EP’s moodiness. Wood’s casual, easy croon contrasts Dies’ super-high, tension-filled guitar licks, but those licks sound expected and uninventive, allowing the song to fall flat.

“Hold On” is Mojo Thunder‘s diamond in the rough. In its bridge, electric and acoustic guitars briefly mingle, revealing an unrealized textural opportunity. A slightly distorted, melodic bass line establishes both purpose and motion in “Hold On,” creating a sense of energetic darkness reminiscent of Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality.

Despite its uniquely chilling opening lyric (“Every silver lining’s got a razor’s edge/We are victorious, now off with their heads”), single “Be Around” limps haphazardly through its three-and-a-half dreary minutes.

Its guitar solo resembles a newborn fawn struggling to stand for the first time; its efforts are in vain, thanks to a sudden fadeout. The ending of “Be Around” feels hurried and cheap, leaving listeners with the impression that they’ve been cheated out of a legitimate conclusion.

“Say What” continues the Peach Kings’ downward spiral, showcasing their trashiest lyrics.

In a half-convincing spoken word performance, Wood recounts a boy in a club “standin’ in the corner just swingin’ his hips/Stompin’ his feet to the beat like this/I walk over from across the room/I said, ‘Hey shy boy, are you in the mood?’” The lyrics go on to instruct vague dance steps, as if the mud-paced number actually warranted dancing. “Say What” tries desperately to feel sexy and dangerous, but exhibits little more than unpoetic sleaziness.

Lyrical flaws aside, Mojo Thunder suffers most from a lack of variety. Unnecessary cutoff-endings homogenize the EP, cheapening four of its five tracks, which are made even more disposable by stagnant vocal lines, unvaried guitar tones, and lazy songwriting. The Peach Kings simply dish out one guitar-heavy, bass-heavy track after another, leaving listeners with a bluesy sludge in their ears.

A refreshing moment shimmers at the end of the EP, on Kent Rockafeller’s synth-filled remix of “Mojo Thunder.” Forgoing the signature heavy guitars, the remix feels disjointed from the rest of Mojo Thunder, offering an awkward contrast to its homogeneity.

The Peach Kings aim for the space between Jefferson Airplane and Black Sabbath, but misfire into murky, uninteresting depths of their own creation. Their EP displays a clearly defined mood, but is too cohesive for its own good. Though a few moments of honest musicianship are present, Mojo Thunder is ultimately a dull, disappointing affair.

The Peach Kings – Mojo Thunder tracklist:

  1. “Mojo Thunder”
  2. “Hold On”
  3. “Be Around”
  4. “Say What”
  5. “Mojo Thunder (Kent Rockafeller Remix)”