If rock n’ roll is seriously a part of your music vocabulary, then you should know that DownTown Mystic is the real deal. It’s hard to overstate this. They have incredible vocals: soulful when quiet and ferocious when unhinged. Massive choruses, big hooks, and yes, gritty and crunchy guitars dominate their songs. They’re simply fantastic, and their new album “21st Century Rock ‘n Roll” digitally released worldwide by Sha-La Music Inc. via The Orchard/Sony Music on the 21st of January, is pure rock and roll from start to finish. This album is an incredible display of vintage rock that ultimately elevates the genre in these modern times as a whole, and brings DownTown Mystic that much closer to the forefront of rock ‘n’ roll.
DownTown Mystic and crew know exactly what they’re doing on “21st Century Rock ‘n Roll”, as this 11 remastered tracks present intricate, quality songwriting, and superb craftsman-like performances. None of which is surprising, when you consider the talents involved in the project – Max Weinberg and Garry Tallent from the legendary E Street Band, along with Steve Holley and Paul Page from rocker Ian Hunter’s Rant Band. All the parts here work together magnificently.
“21st Century Rock ‘n Roll” is proof positive that rock n’ roll is not just alive and well, it is kicking ass and taking names. The album opens with “Lost and Found”, an upbeat crunchy ditty that absolutely will crawl into your gray matter and set up camp. The magic in “Modern Ways (Alternate Mix)” comes from the bustling and fiery guitars, while the rare and raspy vocal tones conveys the driving spirit of “Turn Around and Go”.
“No Exceptions (Radio Mix)” is a robust frontal lobe assault, choke full of tasty drum fills and blues-driven guitars. “Hard Enough (Deluxe)” is another delicious upbeat flare of rock roll energy, and pairs perfectly with the chugging runaway rhythm of “Backdoor”. Every album has a showstopper, and “Brian Jones” certainly falls into that category, with its relentless beat and tight instrumentation.
DownTown Mystic get their boogie-woogie styled groove on with “Shade of White”, before they get back to the grit and melody of another absolute standout in “Way To Know (Deluxe)”. At this point, the band is plain sailing, each measure, becoming an all-encompassing statement of intent, as they turn up the heat with “History”, before closing with the mid-tempo melodic anthem “The Wish (Rock Mix)”.
To recap, bursting with robust rock energy and bluesy juice, “21st Century Rock ‘n Roll” is a pure rock n’ roll joyride, plain and simple. Nine of the songs on the album were previously released as singles, including “Way To Know” which went to #1 on both US and European Charts, while 7 tracks have been sync-licensed to the 200+ TV shows that have DownTown Mystic music on them.
With a project like this, so much of its value is derived from the musicianship. The individual musicians simply need to be on point, and the blend as a unit, is key. DownTown Mystic and all featured musicians pull it off effortlessly. The album also provides the opportunity to honor long-time engineer Ben Elliott, who owned and operated Showplace Studios in Dover, NJ until his untimely death in April 2020.
Keith Richard’s personal engineer at Keith’s home studio, Ben Elliot was DownTown Mystic’s engineer for 20 years and engineered all the tracks on “21st Century Rock ‘n Roll”. DownTown Mystic writer/producer Robert Allen credits Ben with being a huge part of the DTM sound, combining old-school and modern technology. Robert comments, “Ben Elliott made it possible to become a Recording Artist. If you want to make a great record, it has to sound great and that was Ben’s forte. I will always be grateful to him.”
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