Some may question their strategy, calling it interesting, quizzical, or bold. But Ireland's Mockingbird has chosen to release a live album, Live Cuts, following the similarly titled EP Fresh Cuts, before debuting a full-length album. Yet most rock bands are invigorated and propelled by their live performance, or broken by it.
With the case of Mockingbird, it's certainly the former. Recorded at Belgium's Wizzfest earlier this year, there's definitely energy and professionalism in this band's presence and performance. The live stage is certainly their element. Whether this energy and atmosphere can be translated to that future studio album will be a challenge for the band. In the end, Live Cuts was a smooth move for the band.
Mockingbird is a power trio formed in late 2009 by Ian O'Sullivan and brothers Noel and Philip Cunningham. Their style is basically classic hard rock, see-sawing between the late Seventies and early Eighties. There's definitely a hint of both blues rock and NWOBHM in the music. There's emphasis appropriately on big riffs, strong hooks in lyrics and music, and an abundance of O'Sullivan's guitar solos. By no means casting aside the rhythm section, but Mockingbird is definitely a guitar rock band. As for the live recording itself, you need to listen to this album loud to catch the nuances of musicianship. Otherwise, you won't catch the bass line in every song, for instance. One thing you won't hear much of is the crowd; more emphasis was put on recording the band. Yet, O'Sullivan tries to engage them sometimes with embarrassingly poor results as on Already Gone. Nevertheless, the strength of Live Cuts is Mockingbird's classic hard rock performed in a live context. After this, will the studio album, if they get to it, be sufficient to satisfy the fans who have heard the live album? I wonder. Recommended.
With Live Cuts, Ireland's Mockingbird shows were their classic hard rock sounds best, played live and loud in concert.
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