It’s a tale as old as time, college friends form a band, craft ten albums over three decades…and the rest is history, right?
With a simple snare and a strutting lick, the latest release from Bay Area California Alt-Rockers The Mother Hips, Glowing Lantern, kicks off and instantly draws us to the rolling hills set up against the vast blue expanse of the West Coast while warming us in the cloudless ambiance of The Mother Hips and washing away the stress of COVID variant-of-the-week life.
In a time of 90’s bands being 90s bands and trying to sell tickets, The Mother Hips stands out with Glowing Lantern. Sure, there’s the warmth and familiarity that is unshakable, but Glowing Lantern looks forward and exists in today.
Listening to this record is about the easiest thing you can do. Critically thinking about it on the other hand, is quite difficult. The vortex of rock bliss basking in the lights of alt rock, psych rock, twinges of Americana/folk rock, and that California tone, consumes you to the point of the rest of the world melting away; which is precisely what they aimed to do. Tim Bluhm’s vocals hold nothing back when needed as blistering sincerity pierces the coolness of Greg Loiacono’s guitar and vocals, Brian Rashap’s tone-perfect bass, and the drummer John Hofer’s chameleon-like rhythms. Lingering riffs bleed into captivating in “What Happened To You” and the pace varied by the likes of “Song In A Can” while Glowing Lantern ventures into psych alt rock with “Nature’s Twisting Heart,” yet in a stunning turn of events, The Mother Hips have also successfully executed their first cover on album with David Wiffen’s 1968 “I Don’t Want To Drive You Away;” the stunning part being they took a song released by Anne Murray and made it cool.
Glowing Lantern doesn’t simply get back to the roots of what gave The Mother Hips a platform to launch a successful 30+ years run, it, arguably, more importantly gets back to the simplicity that makes us love music. It is comprised of singable lyrics, relatable presence, rolling licks, and the ever-distant-as-of-late guitar solos. Bringing warmth and comfort when we need it most, 2021 is going out with a high that will leave many who have already made their “Best Of 2021” kicking themselves for jumping the gun and not including this record. Pick up Glowing Lantern December 3rd on Blue Rose Music.