BLACKTOP MOJO: “Pollen” (Album Review)

I just want to say it right away. Blacktop Mojo’s latest album, “Pollen,” is an incredible work of art. I’m not going to lie, I had never heard this band until a friend recommended them to me several weeks ago. Now, I’m enjoying a deep dive into their back catalog and spinning this latest album. No matter what genre of music you like, many of the greatest bands hail from the South (Lynyrd Skynyrd, Pantera, ZZ Top) and you can tell Blacktop Mojo is influenced by them all. This latest album is a collection of tracks that seamlessly blend hard rock grit with melodic sensibility, resulting in an album that captivates from start to finish.

From the opening chords of “The End Is Gonna Come,” it’s evident that Blacktop Mojo means business. Like a prowling animal, the track kicks off with a creeping bass line that soon bursts into heavy guitar riffs and drums. This track delivers much energy and sets the stage for what’s to come. Lead vocalist Matt James’ gritty yet emotive delivery will remind listeners of Grunge’s greats. He can hit any note with little effort while simultaneously peppering his vocals with that good old Southern soul.

I’m very impressed with Blacktop Mojo as a whole. Guitarists Ryan Kiefer and Malcolm Booher deliver blistering solos and tight, riff-driven grooves, while bassist Matt Curtis and drummer Nathan Gillis provide a solid foundation with their tight-knit rhythm section. Together, they create a sound that is both honest and vulnerable, showcasing a level of chemistry that can only come from years of collaboration.

Musically, “Pollen” equally explores a range of genres and influences, demonstrating their versatility as musicians. Tracks like “Weary I Roam” and “Born to Lose” delve into heavier, groove-driven beats. Meanwhile, songs like “I Can’t Tell” and “As the Light Fades” inject bluesy rock n roll energy. One of the album’s standout tracks, “Red Enough,” showcases Blacktop Mojo’s ability to craft anthemic melodies with a raw, heartfelt sincerity. The song builds gradually, layering dynamic instrumentation with lyrics that resonate long after the final chord fades. I have lost track of how many times I’ve listened to this track. Another favorite of mine is the final track, “Like Wild Horses.” This is a very simple acoustic track but is really powerful and will send chills up your spine. 

“Pollen” should be hailed as a triumph for Blacktop Mojo. This album encapsulates the band at the height of their creativity. With its dynamic songwriting, emotive storytelling, and all the accompanying music videos, this album cements Blacktop Mojo’s status as one of the most exciting acts in modern rock. Whether you’re a longtime fan or a newcomer to their music like me, “Pollen” is sure to leave a lasting impression.