Home / Album Reviews / Mudcrutch
Monday, June 30, 2008

Mudcrutch

Mudcrutch (Reprise)

Google+ Pinterest Print

  The surprise, thrown-together reunion of Tom Petty's teenage band, Mudcrutch, unveils its full fruits here, with liner notes boasting, “made in 10 days, no headphones, Los Angeles… A lot of love.” While that says it all musically, the release also ends a widely misconstrued notion that the rocker was entering retirement, and offers his legion of fans a driving soundtrack for '08.

  With Heartbreakers stalwarts Mike Campbell on guitar and Benmont Tench on keys, there’s a bit more country than usual, but also a lot of familiarity. Example: “Scare Easy,” a simple (how has he not written this before?) swampy rocker with Tench's subdued haunted-house keys providing underlying dread. Petty's voice, as from-the-hip and defiant as ever, snidely triumphs. With dark renegade boasts and a disarming rhyme scheme, it's another scene from the highlight reel of his catalog—both a champion and an underdog, the "loser at the top of my game," as Petty puts it here. Self-reliantly bold, edgy and maybe just a bit pissed off, “Scare Easy” becomes the perfect 30-year-later B-Side to "I Won't Back Down” and typifies what is in essence a new Petty album.

  After all, Campbell and Tench have provided the backbone of the Heartbreakers' sound all these years. Petty lets everyone share the spotlight (thankfully on Tench's “This Is a Good Street,” unfortunately on guitarist Tom Leadon's “Queen of the Go-Go Girls”). From the Katrina country dirge “Orphan of the Storm,” to the Roger McGuinn-penned steering-wheel-pounder “Lover of the Bayou,” to the barn-burning “Six Days on the Road,” this is the good-ol' high-school boys from Gainesville getting good-timey, loose and shit-kicking.

  Tom Petty performs at the Marcus Amphitheater at Summerfest on July 5.

Log in to use your Facebook account with
Express Milwaukee

Login With Facebook Account



Recent Activity on Express Milwaukee