The Mother Hips – Behind Beyond

by Woody on July 10, 2013


What’s left to say about these guys after 20 years? It seems like I have been calling them America’s most underrated band forever. And while they may not be a common household name, the fact that they have created a loyal and devoted fanbase while doing things their way is testament to just how important they are to the American music landscape. And while it would it be easy for them to play on that devotion and churn out a living as a novelty act up and down the West Coast, Behind Beyond sees Chico’s favorite sons moving forward while holding on to their trademark California Soul sound.

After spinning Behind Beyond a few times, it feels as if the boys spent some time listening to Jerry Garcia Band bootlegs. A few of the tracks have the feel of a Jerry show vibe which always seemed to resemble an R&B revue with Tuffy being the most pronounced.

Jefferson Army is the highlight of the album for me. Spinning a yarn about the army of the proposed state of Jefferson on the West Coast, it ticks off the boxes for everything the secession stands for; in a tune that sounds like the Hips from years ago.

Another great track is Freed From a Prison, a track that Loicano wrote with the idea that a song he wrote but that Bluhm sings, Loicano cites the ability to let go of the song that made it work. “That song is about the concept of being freed from a prison you didn’t even know you were in,” he says. “It’s this idea of finally opening up to an experience that was there for you the whole time. To me, a lot of this album is like that.”

Behind Beyond does nothing to dull my love for the Hips. As I wrote when we had them in for a session a in 2010, it was a massive thrill for me.

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