Dallas-based rocker Holly West has gone from playing in cover bands to worldwide recognition with both Love Stricken Demise and Honey. West is now going it alone now, combining punk and alt rock with pop sensibilities to create a five song EP, 'Mokita'. Holly carefully chose her A-list Mokita bandmates, with Gary Hoey on guitar and drummer Brady Blade (Emmylou Harris), and West plays bass as well as vocals.
The EP opens with 'Memo', a punkish track with an explosive vocal, guitars that vibrate you in your seat, and a pulsating drum, which beats the rhythm like blood through veins of this 3-minute pocket rocket. There are chunky riffs, a blues edge, and a very strong bass sound at the foundation. West has an early Debbie Harry influence to her sound. 7/10
'Mokita', the title track, meaning "the elephant in the room", has a funky bass-heavy intro and an almost purring quality to the vocal. The song arrives at a pop-like chorus, which is mainstream-ready and great to dance to, and there are a couple of guitar solos which remind me a little of early GnR and lend a harder edge to the sound. West's punkish attitude-laden vocal is commanding and fascinating, and together with a very strong instrumental makes for a solid track. 8/10
'Home' is about alien abductions! Yes, that's right. Though it has been suggested that this is metaphorical for feeling disaffected by everything and everyone around you, rather than little green men. I'm impressed by the attitude and distinctive sound anew, and there's a heavenly guitar solo. A grunge-punk fusion which blends classic guitar with an innovative vocal and futuristic theme. What more could you ask for… 8/10
'Justified' is all about the bass. The vocals are soulful, the guitar focused and crisp, and the drums tight, but the star of the show in this track is the bass; smooth, resonant and deeply rich. The vocals are very Joan Jett - "I Love Rock and Roll" - which adds an alluring dimension. This is definitely my favourite on the EP, West manages to perform a song about liars but make it fun and not too heavy in mood. An excellent guitar solo too. 9/10
The final track on the EP is a cover of Led Zeppelin's 'When The Levee Breaks' - a very brave or foolish move? We shall see… West says, “I did this song because why not do this song with Gary Hoey and Brady Blade?! If I was going to pick my dream team, which I did, I had to do some Zep… this song is what we all do, we jam and rock the fuck out!” To give credit where it's due, I listened to this track as if it were a new venture, a totally unique fresh new track, then I listened to the original again to compare. West's vocal is enigmatic and fierce. The musicianship is par excellent, nobody stands out, more the performance as a unit is polished, each musician playing his part admirably in creating an epic cover of a classic much-loved track. When I compare it to the original, well there's no comparison really. Some songs/artists are just that little bit too iconic to recreate; “Cryin won't help you, prayin’ won’t do you no good”. A great song, done well, but not the original. 7/10
The EP was self-produced by West and is an impressive solo debut full of attitude rather than sentiment, punk and grunge rather than ballads, and a general bad-ass disposition. West is one to watch, especially with backing like Hoey onboard. If you like punk, alt rock, grunge, or female-led hard rock, give this a punt. West sings really well, melodic and sweet sounding, whilst maintaining an edge of defiance and ferocity that is missing from many mainstream acts, and even some rock artists.
When The Levee Breaks
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