A hard rockin’ five piece from the Jersey Shore boasting a charismatic frontman and songs built to connect with a blue-collar audience? The Parlor Mob’s back story certainly has a familiar ring to it.
However, as any Springsteen fan could tell you, hyperbolic comparisons can sometimes do more harm than good to the aspirant rock god, and it’s only due to the sort of buzz usually associated with a feedbacking Marshall that we bring news of their second disc (out in the States now, due here in May). The Mob cut their teeth winning local band competitions. Duly snapped up by Roadrunner, their 2008 debut And You Were A Crow was a genre-addict’s nightmare, with debts to emo, metal, prog, punk, rock and blues all paid through a Zeppelin-shaped filter.
None of which prepares you for the raw power and visceral thrill of Dogs. Opener How’s It Going To Be comes hurtling out of the traps, a muscular display of distorted hard rock, while Fallback is a whiplash call and response, suggesting a murderous White Stripes.
Just as you’re mentally filing them next to Audioslave, they enter less familiar territory._ I Want To See You_ is a funky tip of the hat to the Chili Peppers, while Hard Enough is a propulsive ballad hooky enough to suggest lessons have been learned from local boys Bon Jovi.
Equally, If Mark Melicia’s vocals – equal parts Geddy Lee and The Mars Volta’s Cedric Bixler-Zavala – seem destined to initially divide support along a Marmite-flavoured fault-line, his lyrics are anything but hysterical; more passionate call outs to a depressed and disillusioned heartlands. ‘I woke up sick from my American Dream’ he snarls during a jittery American Dream, while a RATM-esque Take What’s Mine finds him drumming up support for revolution, imploring his countrymen to ‘Break the ties that bind us and the shackles on our feet’.
Their exuberant ADD-infused rock takes them to some strange places – Slip Through My Hands is a pastoral ditty where you’re half expecting a lute solo – but their sincerity is unquestionable, all part of an understanding that great rock’n’roll always has one eye on the rear view mirror.
‘This is the start of something, the end of who we were’, hollers Melicia pointedly in final track The Beginning, acknowledging their metamorphosis from Jersey outsiders to genuine contenders has only just begun.
Not quite the dogs’, but close enough.