The Man in All My Stories is the latest LP from Mother Rose, a five-piece Southeast Los Angeles rock band. The sprawling album--fourteen tracks across almost an hour of music--took them four years to create. It was worth the wait.
Theirs is a three-guitar attack (David Hernandez, Ruly Rivas, and Ruly’s cousin Chris Rivas handling leads), plus bass (Edgar Rose) and drums (Tony Rivas for the record; now Snoopy Hernandez). With this instrumentation, they create a layered, modern-rock sound, a la Kings of Leon. The band recorded each instrument individually in their rehearsal space and took their “own sweet time” to get the sound they wanted. Indeed, there’s not a note out of place anywhere.
Across the fourteen tracks, Mother Rose touches on a number of different styles, so there’s something to catch everyone’s ear. Throughout, we hear Ruly Rivas’ soaring vocals, and clean single-note guitar melodies against the layers of fuzzy electrics. The band moves smoothly among different tempos and meters to offer additional texture and interest.
A few tracks stood out. “Hallways” offers a cool 9/8 middle section and drum break. The contrast between the somber verses and fist-pumping choruses of “I Am Your Mother” worked very well. It was nice to hear some dissonance in “Creatures” and a bit of danceable island feel in “Come Back.”
Lyrically, the band tackles fatherhood. The album dedication reads: “to the fathers in our lives, whether they were there for it or not, and to the fathers we will become.” They explore some raw nerves as the album tells a story of a father, his marriage, the birth of his child, his own death and the child’s contemplation of his father’s life. It’s tough stuff. You’ll want to hug your kids after listening.
And isn’t that point of a good album? To make us think and feel? And maybe change ourselves just a bit? That’s what The Man in All My Stories achieves. I’d write more, but instead I’m putting down my pen and heading outside to play with my daughter.
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