Decently raucous first album from Northern Irish quartet on the rise.
Mike Diver 2011
Belfast quartet Mojo Fury have been busy. Since the end of 2010, they’ve toured with the likes of And So I Watch You From Afar and Oceansize, having previously opened for Biffy Clyro. Critics have been impressed: splendid write-ups from rock mags and online ‘zines alike have brought the band to the position of a potential breakthrough proper. But does their debut album point the way to the Radio 1 playlist, like Pulled Apart By Horses managed, or is their 15 minutes up already?
Some from A, and some from B. There’s nothing here that’s going to set hearts truly racing, the band lacking pronounced individuality to set them apart from so many others doing similar songs with different accents: from Scotland there’s Twin Atlantic, for instance. But their commitment to the live scene has helped to hone the four-piece as performers, and everything here is delivered with unquestionable commitment and ability. So, while it’s not going to win any awards for originality, Visiting Hours of a Travelling Circus is a most enjoyable, energetic listen that will appeal as easily to fans of lower-league rockers like Castrovalva and Hold Your Horse Is – Mojo Fury have toured with both – as it will big-hitters like Foo Fighters and the aforementioned Biff. Indeed, it’s invigorating enough for a few cries of "Mon the Mojo".
Highlights, the record has its share. Deep Fish Tank (Factory Settings) is almost grunge in its design, albeit more Alice in Chains snarl than Mudhoney silliness. The Mann is all whisper, EXPLODE, then quiet again dynamics, very much a Northern Irish cousin of PABH’s crunching pop-rock, call-and-response vocals in the verses pointing the way to a holler-yourself-hoarse chorus. Lyrically, there are parallels to be drawn with the playfulness of Mclusky/Future of the Left’s Andy Falkous, and compositionally Bones seems to take a few (albeit slowed-down) cues from the former’s evergreen scream-along Lightsabre C***sucking Blues. Slower moments like What a Secret undoubtedly work better live though, to allow the crowd to take a breather – here, they stall the momentum that the album’s more dramatic cuts promote.
Wearing their influences on their sleeves, Mojo Fury aren’t an act to pin all of your hopes on in 2011. But they’re a great distraction until your personal favourites return with new releases; and should they be your favourite band, you can feel satisfied that they’ve delivered a very decent first album and have at least 10 of those 15 yet to use up.