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Mellow Bravo never met a strain of guitar rock it didn’t like. On its self-titled debut, the Boston sextet contrasts hard rock that drives (Ridin”), blazes (“Shake Shake Shake”) and thumps (“Sad Sam”) with dynamic pop (“Lioness”), snappy country rock (“Prairie Dog”) and brooding Southern rock (“Senorita”). Guitarist Keith Pierce‘s gruff roar (eerily reminiscent at times of Jaz Coleman) bounces off the androgynous croon of keyboardist Jess Collins, often in the same song. Keyboards and guitars clash and co-mingle in ways suggestive of everyone from Deep Purple to the Faces to Faith No More. Even the group’s themes defy expectation – the aggressive blast of the macho-sounding “Love Hammer” conceals anguished cries of “This is not the way to communicate!” No matter which way the band’s wind blows, Bravo plays it all with conviction – this is variety, not dilettantism, and the group’s dedication to melody and consistent guitar tones holds it all together in any case. In a purer time, Mellow Bravo would’ve ruled AOR radio, and we’d‘ve gladly accepted its tyranny.
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