Record reviews: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Review by Scott Mervis
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Thursday, June 17, 2010
Records are rated on a scale of one (awful) to four (classic) stars:
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 'Mojo' | (Reprise) | ★★★½
It's hard to define exactly what mojo is, but Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers have it here on the band's 12th album and first in eight years.
The definitive Heartbreakers' sound has generally been their own twist on Dylan and the Byrds, but this is a different animal, inspired by Mr. Petty's renewed interest in vintage bluesmen like Muddy Waters and Albert King.
He's clearly trying to make his own contribution to the blues-rock canon by burning down "U.S. 41" and grinding through "Takin' My Time."
It doesn't stop there. The first single, "I Should Have Known It," which they premiered on SNL, stomps around like something on the first Led Zep I, as does the dark, shredding closer "Good Enough." "First Flash of Freedom" and "Let Yourself Go" sound like the singer fronting the Allman Brothers, with guitarist Mike Campbell channeling his inner Duane and Benmont Tench going at the keys like brother Greg.
The Heartbreakers' approach was to sit in a circle and jam these out together, a method that clearly paid off. This is now his second winner in a row, counting the Mudcrutch project. That's a big improvement on complaining about what DJs play.