The Austin Chronicle

Old Settler's Music Festival Record Reviews

Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, April 11, 2014, Music

Big Head Todd & the Monsters

Black Beehive (Shout! Factory)

A window-rattling low end touches off opener "Hey Delila," Black Beehive thus busted wide open from its very first notes. The song's biblical declaration of love and lust, with its organ break and Todd Park Mohr's spirit animal vox – that ursine yelp – shakes down the proverbial temple. The surgical staple of a riff on the ensuing "Everything About You" then reiterates that Big Head Todd's 10th studio disc of originals pivots on sonic stings embedded in superior songwriting. Producer Steve Jordan, who co-bossed Keith Richards' other greatest rock & roll band on his way to Grammy-noted collaborations with everyone from Herbie Hancock to Los Lonely Boys, accounts for his end on the rolling, tumbling "Seven State Lines" and rejoinder "Josephina," whose burbling distortion drives the mountain rocker into honeycombs of hooky aural pleasures. Mohr's pen stokes the embers of Beehive's rootsy back end, the quaking blues menace of "We Won't Go Back" ramping down into the minimalistic bop and hum of the "Fear Greed and Ignorance." 2011 tribute 100 Years of Robert Johnson finds slight return on Hubert Sumlin nod "Hubert's Dream," while "I Get Smooth" turns to Willie Dixon for licks. (Sat., Hill Country stage, 10:30pm)


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