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CD REVIEW: Mark Christopher Band Self-titled Album

The city of Los Angeles has come to be known as a transplant locale. A place where one moves to make moves. The men of The Mark Christopher Band stray from the pack because to them, this city if simply home. All three come from a varying set of influences that come together to create a sound that fully reflects the struggle of what it means to strive and survive a place where everyone is trying to make something out of nothing. Raised in Los Angeles, all three men know the highs of lows their hometown can offer. Leading man Mark Christopher picked up his first guitar at 15. You can find the title, Imagine – by going to his website or iTunes. It’s chock full of killer instrumental rock. Some of it is fusion based. But it’s essentially rooted in the blues. “Bull Frog Boogie” kicks it off in trad fashion with some fantastic playing to warm everything up, and you know right way this is going to be of high standard blues variety. This is a searing opener that must be heard to be believed. The guitar playing of Mark Christopher is simply amazing. This doesn’t just rock, they play like monsters throughout this jam. You know right away you’re in for more of the same no matter what.

“Cat Fight” is an even swampier, more incendiary force to reckon with. A real hot number with all the energy of fifty cats fighting of you ask me. It’s boogie-woogie at its absolute finest here. Totally bombastic wah-wah work, with all the crawfish and extra trimmings. Louisiana style blues with just the right keyboard textures. Next is the title track “Imagine” and it takes on a whole new musical direction with some flute that sounds like progressive rock. Jethro Tull instantly springs to mind, but then it turns into a blues guitar fest with the flute answering back lightly. What a sublime track with absolute blistering guitar work. The intensity is so high as he works up into a frenzy and then the flute brings a smooth touch upon it, that it’s hard to play this song just once. It’s that good. But you have-to bring things down a little somewhere, and “Soulless Sinner” is the answer, and just the ticket for it. This is even more intense in places but follows the slow jam process more than the previous track. For an instrumental ballad, this begs for a singer. It has all the room in the world to place some great vocals into. But this isn’t a vocals band, so it’s just where that whole thing loses a point with me. But wherever there is a loss there is also a gain.

“Deep Dog” closes the EP in grand fashion with another barnstorming blues rock track of colossal proportion. This reminds of the Allman Brothers, LynyrdSkynyrd, Jeff Healey and all the southern fried rock and blues icons of the past wrapped into one band. It’s hard to believe this is a power trio, but that’s been said about most of them. It’s just that everything about this music checks out, from the playing right down to the production. It would also do very well with some vocals but none proven to be needed as well. Just an awesome set of hot rocking, southern flavored blues tunes.

I-TUNES: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/mark-christopher-band/id1251643545?l=fr&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

by Larry Toering

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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