Blacktop Mojo shine on album of arena-sized anthems

Blacktop Mojo's self-titled album is the Texans’ fourth collection of 'southern grunge', and it's stuffed with melodic peaks

Blacktop Mojo - Blacktop Mojo
(Image: © Blacktop Mojo)

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While this quintet from Palestine, Texas intertwine sonic strands of vintage southern sounds, anxious grunge, gutsy blues and Purple-hued, Rainbow-laced 70s rock, they never underestimate the power of classic FM rock tropes. 

Album opener Wicked Woman evokes likeable notions of Soundgarden covering Dio with its mystic mentions of ‘sacrifice’ and a ‘spirit in the sky’, but elsewhere Blacktop Mojo prick up your ears with the more conventional power balladry of Latex and the organ-coated arena heartbreak of Tail Lights.

While in those moments their style might feel unadventurous, it’s just as often a strength for a band feeling no need to reinvent the vintage songwriting wheels they rode in on. 

Song titles such as Darlin’ I Won’t Tell, Jealousy and Make Believe reflect the work of bruised romantics, and they rely less on punchy riffs than on stirring choruses designed to get you throwing your arms up to the skies, when yearning anthems like Rewind push powerful melodic buttons.

Johnny Sharp

Johnny is a regular contributor to Prog and Classic Rock magazines, both online and in print. Johnny is a highly experienced and versatile music writer whose tastes range from prog and hard rock to R’n’B, funk, folk and blues. He has written about music professionally for 30 years, surviving the Britpop wars at the NME in the 90s (under the hard-to-shake teenage nickname Johnny Cigarettes) before branching out to newspapers such as The Guardian and The Independent and magazines such as Uncut, Record Collector and, of course, Prog and Classic Rock