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That line, from “Plastic Shaman,” the first track on six-song EP Griot by Fullerton’s Mothers Sons, will get stuck in your head, and not just because it’s repeated several times within the song (though that does help). It’s also funny and clever, which really isn’t as common a thing in lyrics, local or national, as one would hope. The rest of the record may not be as chock-full of bon mots, but it remains compelling, even if songs such as the dreary “Long Live” are more unsettling than smile-conjuring.
Mothers Sons describe themselves as “rock/roots music/soul,” and though, sure, the idea of a band fronted by a young white male being either roots or soul sounds fairly ridiculous, they pull it off pretty well: On “Tall Trees,” lead singer Robb Rowe delivers lines such as “I fall hard, but I speak easy” with conviction; his crooning on closer “America” hints at the folksier side of Jack White. Rowe has character in his voice, and it doesn’t sound like he’s faking it.
Instrumentally, Mothers Sons hold their own. The transitions and tempo changes on “Plastic Shaman” make for a fun opener, and the similarly rocking “Boulder” is also pulled off nicely. “Long Live,” the only real slow song on the disc, seems just a bit out of place—maybe it should be in the middle and not track No. 2, so as to serve as more of a palate cleanser for the peppier tunes.
Griot is a promising signs of things to come from the band, who are in the midst of a Monday-night residency at Detroit Bar—deserved exposure and a chance to ruminate on what being Darwin’s bible might feel like (musty and book-like, probably).
Mothers Sons and Daniel Morones perform at Detroit Bar, 843 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa, (949) 642-0600; www.detroitbar.com. Every Mon. in January. Free. 21+. Visit Mothers Sons online at www.myspace.com/motherssonsband.
Attention Orange County/Long Beach musicians and bands! Mail your music, along with your vital contact info and decent high-resolution photos (plus any impending performance dates) for possible review to: Locals Only, OC Weekly, 1666 N. Main St., Ste. 500, Santa Ana, CA 92701. Or just be lazy and e-mail your MySpace link to firstname.lastname@example.org.