Petty’s latest with the Heartbreakers is a far cry from his finest fare.
David Quantick 2010
Tom Petty – solo artist, Heartbreaker and Travelling Wilbury – has been making records since the late 1970s, and in that time he’s encompassed many musical styles. Well, three or four: new wave, rock, psychedelia and Americana, that mixture of Dylan, blues, country, soul and so forth that everyone from Springsteen to Bon Jovi has tried in various forms.
Now, after returning to his roots with 2006 solo outing Highway Companion, Petty reunites with the Heartbreakers for their 12th album. Mojo sees Petty steep himself in Americana again, adopt a live-in-the-studio feel, and generally rock out. The results are initially quite perky, as the band crash and charge through songs, but after a couple of plays everything becomes rather dull. Every song feels like it’s never going to end (some are, for no good reason, over five minutes long), riffs and tunes seem half-finished (and in several cases, half-inched), and very little of interest happens.
There’s the turgid blues of the aptly named Takin’ My Time, the weak Buffalo Springfield of First Flash of Freedom, and the inaccurately-named I Put a Spell On You pastiche of Good Enough. It’s a packed attic all right. You find yourself longing for the clanging pop of American Girl, the Springsteen thunder of Refugee or even the pscyhedelia of Don’t Come Around Here No More. And then, as it edges over the hour mark, you find yourself desperate for anything that isn’t this album.