Tuesday 8 December 2015

Mothership - Live Over Freak Valley (Album Review)

Release date: January 15th 2016. Label: Ripple Music Released. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Live Over Freak Valley – Tracklisting

Lunar Master
Cosmic Rain
Serpents Throne
Tamu Massif
City Lights
Win or Lose

Band Members:

Kelley Juett- Guitars/Vox
Kyle Juett- Bass/Vox
Judge Smith- Drums


Mothership have perhaps become one of the best known bands from the Ripple Music label. After releasing two acclaimed albums in 2012 and 2015 with ‘I’ and ‘II’ respectively, the guys are back with a live album. Perhaps one of the hardest things for a band to release is a Live Album to show the world what you can do on the live stage. Some Live Albums are considered classics whilst others have failed dramatically. So what do you get with Mothership’s new live record – Live Over Freak Valley.

Live Over Freak Valley was recorded during Mothership’s joint tour with fellow Texan riffsters – Wo Fat on the Texas Takeover European Tour. Freak Valley Festival was one of the destinations the tour hit. Wo Fat released their excellent live album from Freak Valley earlier this year with Live JuJu. Now it’s Mothership to join the party with their performance. So is it any good….

Well if you’re a fan of Live Albums and Mothership this is a must-have album. Mothership play a mixture of old songs from their first album – ‘I’ and new songs from at the time their soon to be released new album – ‘II’. The album opens with – Hallucination – from their debut album. It’s a great song to open the album with as Mothership lay down their trademark fast-paced riffs with a few spaced out noises to get the enthusiastic crowd in the mood.

Kyle, Kelley and Judge are on fire through out the 45 minute set as the atmosphere of the album will snare you in its trap. Why would you want to escape from a live album such as this. I know some people will complain about the sound of the album that it’s very raw at times. True, it is raw especially on second track – Lunar Master – where the vocals could have done with more oomph. Though to be fair I think this is an accurate reflection on how Mothership sounded that day. It’s a live album. A live album should always give you the feeling of being in the front row and experiencing this show for yourself.

When third track – Cosmic Rain – appears you will be in the mood just to rock out with the guys as Mothership slay the Freak Valley audience in attendance. This is one of the best songs on the album and I urge you to play this loud.

The interaction between Mothership and the audience is fantastic as the guys come across as sincerely genuine and have a warm appreciation for their fans and anyone who attends their gigs. I’ve met the guys in person when they played in London back in May 2014 on the same European Tour. And they’re awesome guys who always have time for their fans. So go speak to them the next time their in your home-town.

Fourth track – Serpents Throne – is a track from their second album - ‘II’. It’s good to hear the live version of this track as it sounds better than the studio version. It’s raw, loud and angry as hell.

The remaining three tracks – Tamu Massif, City Nights and Win or Lose – is a collection of songs from both of their excellent albums. And with Serpents Throne, the live versions sounds so much better than the studio versions. As this gives Mothership the chance to try different things to the original versions. Some riffs sound different as Mothership go for a jam-based approach.

There’s a great element of FUZZ on Mothership’s live performances which the studio albums just cannot capture. You may think I’m dissing Mothership’s studio output. Far from it as I’ve reviewed both albums in the past and rated them very highly. It’s just in my view, the best way to experience Mothership is on the live stage and this album proves that point as it allows their music to breathe and expand with whoever is in attendance that night.

Live Over Freak Valley proves Mothership were born to perform on the stage as they’ve created an electrifying live album that can be ranked alongside with Wo Fat’s Live JuJu as one of the best live albums of the year.

Kudos, once again to Ripple Music who are releasing this record and proving why I think they’re the best Classic/Hard Rock/Stoner Rock label currently out there. Live Over Freak Valley is a classic live album in every sense of the word.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Richard at Sheltered Life PR for the promo. Live Over Freak Valley will be released on CD/DD/Vinyl from 15th January 2016 via Ripple Music.


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