Throughout his long and distinguished career, Robert Allen, leader of the DownTown Mystic project has pretty much made the same album with minor variations over a dozen times. Hang on now! The good news is that what I mean by the ‘same album’ is that he is extremely consistent; listen to almost any record of DownTown Mystic since 2010 and you know exactly what you’ll be getting – quality, heartfelt rock n’ roll. If you like DownTown Mystic’s brand of straightforward, unpretentious, traditionalist, melodic radio-ready rock n’ roll then you can dive into their repertoire at random, and you’ll never fail to be impressed.
Nobly carrying on the legacy of the Byrds, and to a lesser extent the Eagles, the Stones and the Beatles too, but more accurately, with all that melody dripping from his songs, DownTown Mystic even comes across like an evolved, grittier 2.0 version of the Searchers. Only Allen doesn’t know it yet, so don’t tell him, he may not even like the comparison. I suspect the Searchers may be too soft at the core for Robert Allen.
In any event DownTown Mystic has become a sort of underground, standard bearer for a generation of rock fans who once felt alienated by punk and new wave, and who now have no use for the lunkheaded corporate rock and nu-metal that dominates AOR.
Since his first album Allen and DownTown Mystic have kept delivering the goods, releasing a consistent set of records on a regular basis. To be fair Robert Allen should be seen as one of the rock n’ roll greats, but for some reason in a warped record industry, he is not…just yet.
So he’s just a regular Joe, but a damn talented one, and unlike some of the ‘greats’, he knows both his considerable strengths and any possible limitations, and likewise sticks to the formula he knows: jangly mid-tempo rockers mostly, occasionally hitting a lot harder and then throwing in a soulful ballad or three for good measure.
My ratings of his records over time have reflected that consistency – they’re entirely within the *****star range. I mean, I tried to vary the range by ½ star in my mind once, just to keep things interesting on one of his records, but I found that I just couldn’t…the record was too good!
DownTown Mystic’s latest release, the “Side Two EP” has 4 songs, including the rocker Hard Enough, featuring the RnR Hall of Fame rhythm section of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band—Max Weinberg & Garry Tallent. Eyes of The World features Steve Holley & Paul Page from Ian Hunter’s Rant Band.
The lead track Dead End Space was sync licensed by Manchester United, one of the UK’s premier Football Clubs, for a private in-house video last year, and the final track Think It Over speaks to a time for change that faces everyone.
The “Side Two EP” also signals the signing of a Licensing Deal between Sha-La Music Inc., and UK Indie Nub Music. Under the agreement Nub will release recordings by DownTown Mystic in Europe and Asia. The following release will be Rock’n’Roll Romantic set for later in 2017.