OTR – Mamonama

OTR - Mamonama
  • 8/10
    OTR - Mamonama - 8/10


Lion Music
Release date: October 10, 2008

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

OTR (On the Rocks) is a band which features John Lawton, once the lead singer of Uriah Heep, Jan Dumee, the former guitarist of Focus, and a rhythm section comprised of three accomplished Brazilians. Marvio Ciribelli gets credit for his ability to stroke keys, Xande Figuerueido takes care of the drums, and Ney Conceicao handles bass. After leaving Focus behind, Dumee contacted Lawton in the hopes that he’d join OTR. Lawton obliged, as he was impressed by the music Dumee was putting together along with the aforementioned rhythm section.

By no means does OTR qualify as a Metal band; if you’re Metal to the bone then you’d best pass on this album. That said, fans which are more open to Hard Melodic Rock infused with Lawton’s trademark bluesy, and often soulful style, should strongly consider picking up this album. Those with a fondness for solid guitar playing also can’t go wrong with Mamonama.

The album starts off with “Face To Face”. After listening to the first minute of this one, it’s easy to get the impression that guitars will feature prominently on the album. Throughout Mamonama, Dumee does his best to ensure that the strings sound clear and that they rock hard. Lawton also makes his presence known on this track. He’s no spring chicken, but age doesn’t prevent him from being able to carry a tune. The tone that is set on “Face To Face” carries over to six of the nine remaining songs on the album.

“Hello” is the most weighty of the tracks featured on Mamonama. Along with “Steal The Night” and “Shine”, this is one of the softer and more introspective tunes. “Hello” slows things down, but the pace picks back up with “Ride On”, which is exactly what it sounds like, a good traveling song. “Ride On” is an old school rocker and it’s surprisingly catchy. “The Corner Club” is very similar in style to “Ride On”. It too is a hard rockin’ track and it isn’t difficult to visualize the club Lawton croons about.

“Ghetto” is a song on which the occasional awkward side of OTR shows through. It starts off with Lawton giving off some slightly strange wailing sounds. Fortunately, when the guitars kick in and Ciribelli works his fingers on the keys, much of the quirkiness of this track is relieved. The band shows its influences and versatility, as they add some elements of soul music to the track. Once again, OTR isn’t metal, but the guitar work, especially on “Ghetto”, is certainly worthy of praise.

Of the ten songs on the album, Lawton shows a variety of different sides. He can easily handle the soft tracks or turn up the heat on the harder ones. The same goes for Dumee, as his guitar playing is the most appreciable part of Mamonama. Ciribelli, Figuerueido and Conceicao all put in a solid effort for the duration of the album. The production is quite good; all of the vox and instruments sound crisp. What’s also nice is the length of the album – just under fifty minutes. Some tracks suffer from the occasional quirky moment (like the one mentioned on “Ghetto”) but on the whole, it’s worth checking out if you’re a fan of Hard Melodic Rock with bluesy and sometimes soulful touches.

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