"My Mamma Lives In a Bottle" and "Minnesota" by Some Kinda EarthquakeReview
When we featured the 1989 track "Mean 'n' Moody Rockin' Machine" by Some Kinda Earthquake on the very first edition of "Hot Music Live Presents", the intention was to shine a light on a band who'd pretty much gone their own ways in the years in between: so we were talking more about one of our occasional "heritage" sharings of great original music.: I never thought I'd find myself writing a review of new material by the band, but here I am in 2023 to tell you of the release of "My Mamma Lives In a Bottle" and "Minnesota" (I think back in 1989 these would have been referred to as the "A" and "B" sides of their single): their first release since the ‘Devastating' album (also in 1989) and their first new recording since 1990: a third track is apparently due in April.
Featuring the authentic, original lineup (how many bands reforming after so long can aspire to that?) of Simon Kelly (vocals), Dave James (guitar), Simon Ward (bass) & Darrell Johnson (drums) plus guest harmonica player P J Baker on "My Mamma Lives In a Bottle", the songs were both written by the band.
We delight here in "Hot Music Live" at trying to capture original voices & talent attracting attention & recognition in ever increasingly wide contexts: building careers & reputations. Sometimes however what we tell you about are artists with more modest ambitions: not trying necessarily to conquer the world, but expressing their joy in playing together, creating new songs & winning such new fans as their capacity to reach them permits. Such a band is Some Kinda Earthquake & their pleasure in playing & in playing together again leaps out of your speakers. There is a great deal of truth in the lyrics of the songs sung by the artists we tell you about, but more elusive to describe (though any true music lover can instinctively grasp it as they hear it) is the sense of truth in performance. I would like to think that both I & all of you reading this can distinguish between that form of truth as exemplified here & the "phoned in" or clinical performances which so often are passed off as "professional".
The title track of this pairing (and if you've not heard their other work, I'd better let you know that it's rockabilly we are talking about here) is a harmonica led, bluesy account of parental alcoholism and its effects: there is the mordant wit one tends to associate with the British rockabilly revival tradition, but the subject is inevitably darker & less humorous than a great deal of that genre: in fact it's much closer to the sort of thing the original pure blues musicians wrote about.
A sad song, it doesn't pull its narrative punches & the music has an intensity to do justice to the words: the feel is actually closer to groups such as The Pirates or Vince Taylor and His Playboys than the 1980s bands.
"Minnesota" shares this 1950s/60s take on the genre, though as it's principally an instrumental any analysis of the lyrics would suggest that it's not as dark as its companion: yet, through the tasteful use of effects such as reverb which gives it that evocative feel does bring to mind the era when Joe Meek pioneered techniques, especially on instrumentals. Credit in this instance to engineer Elliot Kelly at Hedgeside Studios for nailing down the authenticity.
What really counts I suppose is that Simon Ward tells me that they all really enjoyed the weekend putting the new tracks together & any song born out of love is bound to make an impression on me more than one constructed out of cold calculation. Equally give me artists with such a positive emotional connection to what they are doing any day.
Although the band hadn't put any new music together for a long time, they did reconvene for a gig in 2017 to mark their thirtieth anniversary & they have what is described as a "final" appearance booked for October 7th at Chippenham Sports Hall as part of a tribute to Eddie Cochran & Gene Vincent. I'm sure that there would be interest in a local show….
I loved these songs & my only regret was hearing them on Spotify: they would be best sampled I'm sure on vinyl…I think you'll like them too. There isn't too much like this around here at the moment & rarity is always of particular value. Especially if this indeed their last reunion.