New Mongrels – Raised Incorruptible
The New Mongrels are not so much a band as they are a collective of musicians from various cities across the country. It requires an invite to join, and is “without regard to species affiliation;” the collective contains canines. What’s more is the New Mongrels are the rebirth of a musical collective formed during the Civil War era. Haynes Brooke discovered that his great-great grandfather Henry Brooke had created the Smythe County Mongrels Society in 1861 after returning home from the Civil War as a 17 year old veteran who, from the war, was deaf in one ear. The Mongrels’ charter stated that their purpose was “the joyful promotion, through song and rhythmic utterances, of a unified moral code for all creatures.” They got drunk and sang gospel songs from the book of Psalms to their improvised music. Upon some research, Haynes found the charter still intact in the Smythe County Courthouse and decided to revive the Mongrels as the New Mongrels. The tenets of the original charter are still adhered to.
This past January the New Mongrels released their latest effort, Raised Incorruptible; their first since 1998. The album began with Haynes sketching out tracks and shipping them to the various members who put their own ideas in. The recording began in earnest on trips to visit members in New Hampshire and Canada, and was thrown into high gear upon Haynes’ return to L.A. with his garage as the studio. The members of the collective came and went as necessary, dropping in and providing their contribution to Mr. Brooke’s vision. What they created in the process is a collection of Americana, acoustic, indie, folk, gospel music that will be hard pressed to find listeners who dislike it.
With an immense array of performers and instruments – including (but not limited to): guitars, mandolins, pianos, ukuleles, violins, harmonicas, and trumpets, and enough vocalists to fill a choir, the album is able to cover a lot of ground. Each track has a unique feel, but the album still holds its identity as a whole. The tracks are soft, acoustic music with a gospel influence. They have soul and are full of lilting vocal harmonies, and precise gorgeous instrumentation. The opening tracks of “Time,” “Love it Madly,” and the title track “Raised Incorruptible,” show this as they invite you to float away to their space. The strength of the songs continue throughout the album with “Decision Time,” “Freedom,” “Dogs and Kings,” and “Palm Point,” to mention a few more; anymore, and the whole album would be named. This is not rock out music, though it has its own undeniable liveliness to it.
Raised Incorruptible is Americana in that it makes it easy to imagine this music being from Anywhere, U.S.A., and it has a timelessness to it that says it’s an extension of an echo from the past. It’s not so often many modern Americans, no matter what their age, say to themselves “I’d like to listen to acoustic music that harkens back to the Civil War era,” however, the New Mongrels just may make people think twice about that.
WORDKRAPHT Rating: 4 Stars!
Album Name: Raised Incorruptible
Date Released: January, 2014
Genre: acoustic, Americana, indie, folk
Location: Los Angeles, CA/Atlanta, GA/Boston, MA/Decatur, Al/Vancouver, B.C.
Band Members: Haynes Brooke (song and lyric writer, guitar, vocals, mandolin, piano, ukulele, percussion) Katie Green (vocals, violin), Kubilay Uner (bass, keyboards), Jeff Mosier (drums, vocals), Michael Lorant (vocals), Michelle Malone( vocals, guitar), Amy Ray (vocals), Laura Hall (vocals, accordion), Rick Hall (vocals), Lucy Brooke (vocals), Mike Moynihan (trumpet, vocals), Ken Palmer (drums, vocals, harmonica), Nicolas Green (guitar)