The Mother Hips: Pacific Dust

RIYL: Crazy Horse, the Eagles, New Riders of the Purple Sage

Granted, any band that’s been around more than a decade and a half should have been picked up on the public’s radar by this time, and the fact that the Mother Hips have barely registered a blip doesn’t exactly offer any sort of attribute in their favor. It’s a misfortune they lament on “Third Floor Story,” a tale of record company imbroglio that ranks as one of several highlights on this otherwise agreeable new album, their seventh outing to date and possibly their best shot at routing the indifference that’s greeted them thus far. Indeed, based on the evidence offered herein, there’s no reason why this California combo ought not finally win the following that’s eluded them so long. Faithful purveyors of West Coast country rock, with more than a hint of a ‘70s sensibility, they serve up unfettered melodies that once would have invited radio play and the adulation of the masses. Songs like “White Falcon Fuzz,” “One Way Out” and “All in Favor” recall the dusty, free-wheeling affinity that made the Eagles, Neil Young, the Jayhawks and others of that ilk rank so prominently as heartland heroes. Perhaps their problem lies in the fact that they could be perceived as retracing terrain that was so widely traversed more than 30 years ago, and is now considered somewhat out of sync, especially given competition from boy band wannabes, unrepentant rappers and the various other pop pretenders that dominate the charts these days. Too bad – it may not be hip to like the Hips, but when it comes to mining a solid, road-weary sound, they become the Mother of reinvention. (Camera Records 2009)

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