Matt Pearce & the Mutiny’s The Soul Food Store is funky blues and familiar hard rock presented with a lot of flash and great energy, a fun guitar-centric album with some captivating moments.
Pearce is probably best known for his work in Voodoo Six, although this is his second solo album. His solo debut, Gotta Get Home, showed some promise, and he realizes that promise on The Soul Food Store. Pearce sounds relaxed on his follow-up album, using a bigger sound and catchier songwriting. There’s a bit of a party element to the tracks, with Pearce and his band sounding like they’re having a good time.
Pearce also effectively uses a horn section to give tracks another gear. “From Here to the Moon” is a big groove augmented with some nice, and surprising saxophone. The song skips along, Pearce only breaking stride to unleash a solid slide guitar solo, equal parts glam and Delta blues. “King of the World” similarly uses a strong horn section, as well as Pearce’s confident vocals, which give the song a charming slither.
While those songs rock, Pearce also plays with other styles. “Promised Land” recalls “Smooth,” Carlos Santana’s collaboration with Rob Thomas. Both share a Latin rhythm, and Pearce deploys some guitar pyrotechnics. “Bring It All to Me,” is more gentle, based upon piano, sounding a bit like an ’80s power ballad. My initial urge was to call both tracks guilty pleasures, but it’s an unfair characterization. Why should anyone feel guilty enjoying a song? The fact that it’s based upon a popular style doesn’t make it any less pleasurable.
Pearce and his band have come back strong with their follow-up. Pearce’s guitar work is spot on, as you would expect from a player of his talents, but he’s also using his voice well, too. He might not ever be known for his singing, but he’s a compelling front-person, owning the material, and the listener, on every track, not sounding like a guitarist who happens to sing. On The Soul Food Store, you get a better sense of his solo identity: as the singer for a tight band; one that happens to know his way around the guitar. Pearce hinted at moments like this on his debut, and the Mutiny deliver on that promise here. It’s familiar blues rock, but performed with a lot of panache.
The Review: 8.5/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– King of the World
– From Here to the Moon
– Bring It All to Me
– Promised Land
The Big Hit
– Promised Land