Mantooth are a four-piece alternative rock band hailing from Boise, Idaho. They formed from ‘the wreckage of Bradly Fields and The Love Handles’ and their music is a raucous hybrid of 70’s garage rock like The Stooges and MC5, punk band The Sex Pistols and glam rock like the New York Dolls. They also have elements of more modern groups like the Dandy Warhols and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.
This album, Everybody’s Ashtray, consists of twelve tracks of fuel-injected rock ‘n roll that manages to capture the band’s raw energy in the confines of the studio, and has the loose and exciting feel of a live performance. I’m A Mummy opens the album with impressive style, the vocal performance of John F. Edsall captivating the ear immediately. Unexpectedly, the chorus is sung by female backing singers in a cheerleader style, which is a nice sidestep of avoiding predictability.
The next three tracks are the band at their primal best. Doug Taylor’s razor sharp Sex Pistols style guitars do battle with Edsall’s charismatic vocals, sounding halfway between Iggy Pop and the New York Dolls’ David Johansen. Isn’t This Nice adds organ to the blend and slows the pace a little, along with My Dog Smell’s Bad which has some nice lead guitar work.
Eighth track We’re Gas has one of the album’s catchiest hooks while The Ballad of Jimmy the Rodeo Clown is a real highlight, adding Mariachi style trumpet and Rhodes into the instrumental blend which brings welcome variety. It’s the slow burning epic of the album, featuring a stellar performance from Edsall. Girl Machine is classic sleazy rock containing a superb solo from Taylor and special mention should go to the rhythm section, with the drumming on this track particularly thrilling.
The last two tracks, although good, are both mid paced and so there is a slight sense of anti-climax, but that’s a minor quibble.
Overall, this is a thoroughly enjoyable album that takes everything that was great about garage, punk and glam rock and gives it a modern makeover. In John F. Edsall, they have a perfect frontman whose vocals have attitude and conviction in spades, aided by fine musicians who cook up a storm behind him. In short, Mantooth are a rarity in modern rock: they are the real deal.
Verdict: 8.3 out of 10