The Mullens – It’s Hard To Imagine (2009)

These guys from Dallas, Texas have that Stooges/Ramones/1960s-garage amalgam vibe down solid. Not bad at all. There are flourishes of the Byrds’ jangle popping up here and there, too, as on “Someday.”

Several of the tunes do have a sameness to them that made them fade into one another. I liked the ones that stood out from the pack a lot better. Funny enough, I had never heard of these fellas before this album, actually their fourth release, though they’ve been around since 1997.

The catchy “Something For Yourself,” with that Stooges drive, sounds like it’s seasoned with some primo New York Dolls and wouldn’t have sounded out of place on the first couple of Ramones albums. It has that whole N.Y. proto-punk 1970s vibe, served with tasty, gritty guitar work from Matt Mayo — who just hammers on throughout. “You Really Move Me” could have been a single, because it’s so damn catchy. The same hard pile-driving Stooges vibe prevails on this tune. Now that is what I call rock ‘n’ roll, in the best sense of the term Go, man, go!

The maraca shakin,’ pulse generatin’ “Boilermaker” revs things up on a Them groove, with Tim Stile’s blues harmonica driving it home. “Nighttime” is an all-nighter drive-late-at-night-in-your-car song that would do Iggy Pop proud these days.

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Steve Elliott

Steve Elliott has written for Shindig, Twist and Shake, Garage & Beat and Ugly Things. A big fan of all things rock and roll - especially the British Invasion, garage rock, psychedelic, new wave, folk rock, surf and power pop - he was a consultant on Sundazed Music's reissue of 'The Best of Butch Engle & The Styx: No Matter What You Say' in 2000, and has also provided liner notes for Italy's Misty Lane Records. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.