The Mother Hips – When We Disappear (Blue Rose)
It’s almost cliche to cite the Black Crowes when talking about San Francisco’s The Mother Hips, but here goes. While the Georgia-based Crowes were playing Blues and Jam influenced Roots Rock to the masses starting in the early ‘90s – at a time when that music was hardly en vogue – they eschewed trends and focused on evangelizing their independence, music fads be damned and continued to churn out one great record after another for decades building a dependable fan base along the way. Across the country in Northern California, The Mother Hips were launching their own crusade around the same time, playing their own brand of Jam/Roots Rock that seemed out of step with every new genre that came along, perfecting their own style and similarly building up a remarkably loyal following.
And just as The Black Crowes are still putting out relevant music, so are The Mother Hips. The new album, When We Disappear, was produced and mixed by Tim Bluhm and Greg Loiacono, engineered by Jono Manson and Tim Bluhm; and recorded at Jono Manson’s Kitchen Sink Studios and is available via Blue Rose Records.
Their latest finds the band turning in another great album brimming with a perfect blend of rock, soul and psychedelic Americana with Beach Boys worthy harmonies.
The opening title track is a beautiful prelude to what follows. The Band-esque song with an aggressively addictive guitar riff repeated throughout is dominated by seemingly stream of consciousness lyrics that are apparently based on real events. “Greg (Loiacono) sent me a rough demo of this song and I thought it was promising,” said singer/guitarist Tim Bluhm. “What he was singing was place-holder gibberish, or sounds mixed with some actual lyrics, including what would become the title. I went through it and matched words to his sounds and then tweaked the words to tell a kind of impressionistic history of our adventures together. In this way I believe both Greg’s and my own subconscious worlds revealed themselves. The music is simple and loose, helping with the devil-may-care attitude of the singing.”
“When We Disappear” is easily one of the best here and on par with some of their bigger hits proving the band still has plenty left to give fans. There are one or two weaker songs on the record. The mellow trippy “Lost Out The Window” and “Spirit of ‘98” drag the momentum down towards the end of the record, but the band quickly recovers with the more up tempo “Room Four” (another album highlight) and closes on the stellar “Stories Unborn.”
As strong as When We Disappear is it’s still no substitute for seeing the band live (another cliché, but also true). The band has already plotted out shows in the U.S. through the end of spring.
Musicians on the album are Tim Bluhm on vocals, guitars, Hammond and percussion; Greg Loiacono on vocals and guitars; John Hofer on drums; Brian Rashap on bass and baritone guitars; Danny Eisenberg on piano; and Jon Graboff on pedal steel. The album was mastered by Anthony Puglisi, with art design by Jason Lee Denton.
Find more information and tour dates here: https://www.motherhips.com
Enjoy our previous coverage here: REVIEW: The Mother Hips “Glowing Lantern”