Review: Muddy Moonshine – Are We There Yet?

Review: Muddy Moonshine – Are We There Yet?

Inverse Records (March 18th, 2022)

Reviewer: Chris O’Connor

Finland is something of a hotbed for Southern Rock, with three of the genres finest exponents originating there – Gringos Locos, Havana Black, and of course Los Bastardes Finlandeses. Now, and back with their fourth studio album comes the very splendid Muddy Moonshine. The hoary quintet’s line-up is as follows: Jarmo Ikala (guitar), Jonne Rytkonen (guitar), Kim Sandstrom (bass guitar), Saku Manninen (drums), and unless I am very much mistaken – a new vocalist, in the form of Thomas Vee.

The first thing to say, is thatAre We There Yet? is not an ‘immediate’ album, it’s more a slow- burner, but given the time and attention it deserves, it soon becomes obvious that it’s a genuinely mature and well-constructed offering. It’s also not entirely a pureblood Southern Rock album, with one for (at least) planted in the Americana Roots scene, so it can be a little disconcerting to diehard ‘Suvvern Rawk’ fans, indeed it took me a little while to get fully into it.

In places they remind me of long-lost Southern Rock heroes The Delta Rebels (which is by no means a bad thing), and when they rock hard – they really rock hard, check out the fast and furious ‘Sold Out’ for proof of that, a really stonking song! ‘Keep On Riding’ is another kickass rocker that has genuine immediacy to it, every album should have such barnstormers!

It’s not all about one paced, foot to the floor stuff though, the band mix up the styles and tempos with real ease, you want proof, listen to the loosely swaggering ‘Under The Moon’ which is as effortlessly cool as it’s possible to get, if that doesn’t grab you, then then simply wonderful and lazy ‘Distilled In Bayou’ surely will! What a sublime piece of music. The more I listen to ‘Are We There Yet?’ – the more it grows on me, and I really do commend it to you if you – like me – are a Southern Rock aficionado – then you really WILL want this record!