Sha-La Music, Inc. recently announced the worldwide release of the new album and single “Better Day” by rocker, Robert Allen’s project, DownTown Mystic. The album is released worldwide ex. North America by UK label Last Man Music, who signed a Licensing Deal with Sha-La Music in December and will handle digital & physical distribution. The “Better Day” digital album was released on January 24, with the CD to follow on February 21. The album is digitally distributed in the US/ North America via AWAL/Kobalt Music. The lead and title track was released as a single to Worldwide Radio on January 21 via the iPluggers online platform.
The album, “Better Day”, is fleshed out by DownTown Mystic’s meanderings through the aural history of pop, rock, and roots music. If thematically the stakes are changed to a more positive tone, project leader, Robert Allen’s sonic ambitions remain just as tall as they have always been. This is a record brimming with catchy melodies, contemplated chord changes, and unique instrumental accents. As usual there is great production here too – everything sounds loud, strong and clear without being squeaky clean.
The endorphins start flowing with the opening title song, “Better Day”, featuring the rhythm section from Ian Hunter’s Rant Band – drummer Steve Holley and bassist Paul Page, who also play on more than a handful of other tracks on the album – and continued through the next, “The Wish”. Guitars ring and Robert Allen’s distinctive croon is crisply committed.
Taken as a whole, the album is euphorically exciting and has a comfortable, sing-along feel. There are some moments of nearly transcendent sublimity as on “One More Chance”, and after a few listens the album felt like an old friend. Guitar and piano work of subtlety, complexity and beauty complement the vocals, which sound as genuine as ever.
“Tomorrow’s Clown” brings that raw acoustic-driven Americana feel, while “Modern Ways” echoes a pure high-energy rock n’ roll aura. “One Step Closer” has a gorgeous mid-tempo strumming lilt, and a gritty lead vocal. This cut begs to be turned up loud.
Seasoned as an artist, everything Robert Allen and DownTown Mystic does, comes with a seal of quality and authenticity that guarantees satisfaction and enjoyment. “Love Light” is a piece of smartly crafted pop-rock in the classic tradition.
The guitar and rhythm interplay here, and throughout the album, is stellar. Next, DownTown Mystic up the tempo and energy on the rollicking “Shade Of White”, with its rockabilly twist. These guys execute with vitality and vigor.
DownTown Mystic approach the final two tracks – “Read The Signs” and “Lost and Found” – with the starry-eyed gaze of rock n’ roll rebels tearing into a cut with the wide-grinned excitement of a jam band finding just the right groove. The fiery performances by Robert Allen and the rest of DownTown Mystic, are that of a band, untarnished by the passage of time, and uncontaminated by the burden of experience.
The 10 track performances on “Better Day”, winds its way through the primal pop and rock influences that shaped DownTown Mystic and that inspired Robert Allen to create wildly enthralling original music of his own.
It is a solid, powerful and tight record – proof that the group have grown muscles without compromising anything. Allen is not trying to do anything new, he’s just doing it better. DownTown Mystic basically reminds us of all the things that made this genre great in the first place.