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Album Review

After reuniting for 2002's Group Therapy, Concrete Blonde disappeared into the desert. Singer/bassist and occasional psychic medium Johnette Napolitano's Southwest is a spiritual hotbed of shamanistic sunsets and coyote-fueled nights, and on Mojave the veteran Los Angeles trio ably provides its soundtrack. Guitarist Jim Mankey and drummer Gabriel Ramirez paint a dusty, ominous, and urgently bleak background for Napolitano's husky voice, a voice that once married the lupine howl of Chrissie Hynde with the kerosene croak of Tom Waits, and is now as dry as the desert itself. Mojave is atmospheric and tense without ever really sinking its teeth in, despite the promising opener, "The "A" Road." There are attempts at melody ("True to This") and humor ("Jim Needs an Animal"), but the overall effect is like listening to a compilation of Nick Cave B-sides — the mostly spoken title track aims for Cave's "Tupelo" but never delivers the musical thunder that its sublime imagery hints at. The Death Valley funk of "Someone's Calling Me" recalls the Concrete Blonde of old and an eerie cover of "Ghost Riders in the Sky" provides some choice spooky moments, especially when Napolitano reaches for her higher register, but as a whole, the album suffers from an odd formlessness. Mojave isn't a bad record, but its reliance on regional lyricism requires a less meandering musical coat.

Customer Reviews

This is a great band, give em a shot.

Blonde is one best yet least known bands out there. Their version of Ghost Riders on this albumn is great. I love a lot of the stuff they do. I hope they keep on rocking for a long time! If this is the only albumn you,ve heard check out Still In Hollywood which is a collection of great songs they sing.

moody and atmospheric

They remain the essence of how they began. Except. One of the sponges fell in the sand. They say that the desert gets in you. Well the Mojave enveloped Johnette and further evolved her into a place where she could further express her inner most thoughts and the product is this album. Its groovy. Its thought provoking. Its mood altering. Its not a series of songs you would play loud at a party, but would play it low to set the ambience to chill and relax. Besides the dusty riffs and thick reverb that canvases the majority of these songs, it provides the perfect stage for Johnette's unmistakably intense voice. This is what she was put here to do...

This is my favorite Concrete Blonde album!

It evokes a dark and foreboding mood that suggests a dust storm brewing somewhere in the desert. Great stuff!


Formed: 1982 in Hollywood, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Concrete Blonde grew out of the Los Angeles post-punk club circuit that produced bands like X, Wall of Voodoo, and the Go-Go's, but it wasn't until 1987 that the band even recorded its first album. The group was founded by singer/songwriter/bassist Johnette Napolitano and guitarist Jim Mankey, who initially called themselves Dream 6 and released an EP. Their insistence on complete artistic control was off-putting to the major labels who took notice, however, and it wasn't until 1987 that the group...
Full Bio
Mojave, Concrete Blonde
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