Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Mule - The Reliable Man

Hear The Track Here

I have a pretty good memory as far as bands and band names go, so when I saw Mule in this months review list, I knew that I had reviewed them before. However, when I looked at the review for A Simple Life (December 2005) I was gobsmacked to see that I had given it a Must Have rating. What? For a new band (to me) and a new track? Almost unheard of, guv. In common with all my Must Have tracks, it's something I'd want to keep so I went back and listened to the file that has sat on my hard disk since that review. Just to check that my ears are working properly and I can't say honestly I have heard it overly much since that review. Too much else going on, but I did put it in my 2006 folder so it is up for contention in this years Stevies - as indeed are Mule themselves, and that's on the strength of one track. Now having heard A Simple Life once or twice around this new track I would STILL give it a must have, a killer track and no mistake.

I was never much into Britpop when it was around and even then Blur kinda did the trick for me because - for me anyway - Oasis was merely a rock throwback and have proved to be consistent in that approach. Blur, however, were always into different musical forms and that appealed to me more. Which is why tracks like A Simple Life and now The Reliable Man also appealed to me. Both these tracks rely on a lyrical subtlety allied with a fine pop sensibilty that was first pioneered by band such as original Britpoppers The Beatles. Speaking of which, in terms of arrangement and style, The Reliable Man owes much to their legacy because they specialise in that mid-success sound the Fab Four come up with on Rubber Soul and Revolver.

It's that relaxed, yet very complex approach that Mule take that I find most satisfying as a listener. In common with A Simple Life, this track abounds in clever arrangement twists, some lovely chord progessions and a fine performance all round. I personally would have liked the backing vocals slightly higher in the mix and a bit less of the cymbal crashes in the outro, but that's nothing, merely a preference. The track works perfectly - on all levels. Your obvious starting point would be Blur (because of the vocals) but anyone who likes REAL english guitar pop will just love this bad boy to death. With two Mule tracks now under my belt it is obvious that they know exactly what they are about, technically and professionally, and I would have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending either one. One small quibble though; lyrics? Where they is, maaaannn??? Want the words, want the words...

MUST HAVE Classic English rock, be it the first verson OR the Britpop one.

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