Steak without eggs; ham, hold the cheese; pork chops and, no thanks on the apple sauce today: Mount Carmel’s Real Women is rock qua rock, real Detroit muscle (one state removed), and nothing else (qua nothing else). One listen to Matt Reed’s burnished bellow and you’ll know he’s as born to this rock as Fogerty was born to imitate someone from the Bayou. For all the brevity and simplicity of its 1973-vintage look and sound though, Real Women neither quite wallows in retro-mud nor seeks to reinvent the mag wheel. But you might notice that the Columbus trio changed the tires for this, their second album – the longest jams here come in under five minutes yet pack the heft of an album-side blowout. Rock this pure and powerful doesn’t take well to in-depth analysis – except to maybe venture the opinion that those making bank off the Black Keys might want to keep word of Mount Carmel’s far more formidable blues-rawk from getting around – and I’ve already skidded past my exit. But a look under the hood is certainly warranted.

For Mount Carmel, swagger is such a given that they have a pet name for it: The lead-off ripper is called “Swaggs,” and it’s filled with the simplest of brick-heavy riffs and lyrical variations on “you’ll do me right, there’s nobody that could do me wrong,” or something to that effect; such is their swaggs that they don’t even need us hearing them clearly to catch what their driftin’. That vibe cruises right on into the title track: “If you want to put your hands on me we can go.” (Add it to that list of pick-up lines you’ll never have the courage to use.) The ditch-digging lead guitar on “Oh Louisa” opens up into one of the album’s most chest-hammering workouts. The call-and-response vocal on “Be Somebody” shows the subtle workings within this finely tuned machine (God is in the details, and so’s the other guy). “Choose Wisely” puts all eight cylinders to work, a rich choog with amazing pickup and the best jam here. The closing “Lullaby” strikes that FM-radio-overnight vibe, a blistering lead coursing through the full band’s nimble roar. And just like that, as the band begins to repeat itself a bit, the album clicks off at a neat 32 minutes. Sweet and low-down, real heavy, and a healthy part of any well-balanced musical diet. [Siltbreeze]

-Mike Wolf


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