(Road Kill Recordings)

MARK: 84/100



Don't let yourselves deceived, this is not the banal title of a Death metal band, even if not English mothertongue speakers might think by reading a monicker only seemingly related to the word 'grave'. This is one of the new hopes in a genre not so popular anymore like 10 years ago, that is funky rock. Mark Knight, singer, songwriter and one of the 2 guitarists, had a fair success with Bang Tango, then he decided it was time he moved to Malibu. From there he launched his new musical evolution, this time embracing more elements for his new creature, among which 70's rock bringing to the release of a good 15-song debut CD..

"Lighten My Load" consists of a raw funky rock with a catchy chorus, a remarkable bridge and Red Hot Chili Peppers-based back-up vocals, while "Monkey Boy" is a track of pure relaxing beach rock with trembling Hammond B-3 lines; might be one potential single.
Funky rock sustained by a prominent bass is "Show Me What You're Made of", gifted with a dynamic structure and a great deal of pop-effected vocals; I feel it should've been a bit faster but it's embellished enough by a final guitar solo. A few central vocal lines exact the best from Mark's vocal power, but the old lion passes the test excellently.
Things change once again with "Scared", lazy modern rock reminding of a hot sunny Californian desert. If you know Saigon Kick, you won't miss listening to this song over and over.
"In Deep" seems perfect for live-shows, thanks to its slapping bass, filtered back-up vocals, stop 'n' goes a là R.H.C.P. (even though Knight's voice is different), 2 lively guitars soloing and keyboards dear to Deep Purple.
3 minutes and a half of mid-tempo energetic Led Zeppelin rock with a hard rock solo make this one of the best written tracks; the break especially pays its toll to Bang Tango's repertoire.
Very interesting is the particular "Hard to Do" owing to the low tonality used; real melancholic and pining.
Groovy and danceable is the beginning of "What's it to Ya", with a delicate guitar line before the crescendo and the great Bad Religion chorus; not original, but you know, that's not Gravy's goal which is just to write delicious inspired songs. By the way, Mark's voice is in a good shape than ever, quite emotional as the ones that only the best singers can boast.
A long ballad with wha-wha guitars, layers of keyboards a bit in the background preceding guitar licks and 2 axe solos sounding the way the early Guns 'n' Roses used to utilise are the foundations of "Eye to Eye"; one of the 2 solos is not that good actually yet it's "Elevate" whose task is to make your thumb raise again, an airy and straightforward composition with an effected guitar solo that I do dig on the other hand; this song sounds (yep, I know it's strange) like a mix between Rage Against the Machine with a young Ian Gillian on the mic!
Let you be rocked by the tranquil notes of the funk of "Brown Baggin' it (Get Together)"; bass rules here and the chorus's destined to hit the highest ranks of the North America's charts for a long while if pushed the right way. I imagine Fun Lovin' Criminals beating their heads against the wall for not having such a hit in their hands...
The riff comes in, the wha-wha guitar follows and "Stand Me up" could be another typical funky song, but - and this is what distinguishes genial songs from average ones - a Lynyrd Skynyrd chorus conquers everybody's likings, as an old-fashioned arranging lasts till the end. The revenge of the 70's!
"Good Things" starts with a guitar solo, afterwards it slows down and a filtered voice repeatedly alternates itself with a West coast chorus; another short solo appears before the song slightly fades softly.
Only a winner's soul can breed a song like "Seein' Is Believin' ", where Bonhamian Jon Biggs' lively kickdrum duets with Rocc Thomas' slapping bass; the mixing is perfect this time and does justice to a penetrating chorus, supported by keyboards but most of all one of the most scratching axe solos of the record. Probably this is the highlight of the whole CD, but don't neglect attention to the as wonderful Beatles-like ballad, not boring at all. In a world running towards self-destruction, where wrong values like money, deceipt, injustice, prevarication and fascist thought rule inexorably, a peaceful love song like "One Time or Another" is anything but expected.

The 80's won't be back any longer (sigh!) nevertheless until bands like Gravy come out, the flag of old rock shall wave high and proud for many years more. Mark, this is what you and the crew are able to do best, this is what you were born for, never give in!


12021 Burbank Bl., Ste. 205 - Valley Village, CA 91607 - USA
E-mail: mark@gravytunes.com