By Samuel Stevens
Release Date: December 4, 2020
Genre: Alternative Rock
Label: Seeing Red Records
Ohio alternative rock quartet Mollo Rilla is set to release their sophomore album Viva El Camino, the follow-up to their impressive 2019 self-titled debut album. Mollo Rilla’s core mission is one of musical freedom that effortlessly combines a large-ranging list of musical elements all the way from Latin to rockabilly, surf to hip-hop, and even all the way to the genre of disco. The band’s lyrical themes also focus on a large-ranging list of topics such as their feelings, their thoughts/beliefs on freedom, fantasy, faith, and love. The band’s brand new album was recorded at the Hobby Shop Recording Studio West in Los Angeles that lead them to enlist producer Andrew Murdock, who has some credits with Godsmack and Powerman 5000 to name a few, as well as renowned music engineer Bil Lane, who has worked with major hitters in the industry like Bob Dylan and Jackson Browne.
Mollo Rilla’s main lyricist and songwriter Marco Ciofani is absolutely no stranger to the music industry. Ciofani was previously signed as a songwriter for Roundhill publishing that is located in Nashville, Tennessee. For a better part of a year, he went on to co-write many songs with fellow artists, including Lincoln Parish, a former member of the rock band Cage the Elephant. The frontman became disenchanted with his songwriting gig in Nashville and set his course back to his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. This is when Ciofani -the band’s lead vocalist and guitarist- recruited the likes of keyboardist/vocalist Simeon Ruple, bassist/vocalist Austin Adams, and drummer/vocalist Joey Shannon to form Mollo Rilla in 2017. Fast forward another two years, they were ready to release their self-titled debut record.
Viva El Camino starts with the six-minute bold opener, “The Raven.” Musically, it’s similar to the style of their debut album. A very progressive rock-style track that demonstrates the unapologetic stylings of Mollo Rilla. The following track, “El Camino” takes your on an uneasy feeling musical journey by spinning itself around every chance it gets. The album’s lead single, “Night Fang” tells a fictitious story about a band of troublesome misfits hunting down a mischievous werewolf. Once these misfits have tracked down the werewolf, the group discovers the werewolf is not what they imagined at all, and a raucous party breaks out. Essentially the track uses metaphors in a way to tell a story of never judging a book by its cover and that you should respect, celebrate, and appreciate other’s differences and accept those for who they are. Musically, “Night Fang” has one of the most infectious choruses on the entire album.
The band continues to take swings from all sides, in an unexpected turn the following track, “Pendelum” features a heavy guitar riff, a thunderous bass line, and bounding drums, it’s quite reminiscent of a System of a Down track. Nevertheless, lyrically the track is a personal one for Ciofani. It touches on where he comes from and why he writes music. The fifth track on the album -that continues to go anywhere where the band’s creative minds take them- is simply titled, “Punk Song.” Which, it is just that, but in another surprising twist, it’s a rockabilly intertwined punk track. “Bliss” is a low tempo ballad about love that features a twangy guitar riff and Ciofani’s falsetto on pure display. It’s unlike anything else on Viva El Camino.
Another couple of impressive numbers on the band’s sophomore record Viva El Camino starts with another moderate tempo track, “Mike Angelo.” This track highlights hypnotizing guitar, a simple bass line, and a melody that sticks with you promptly on its initial listen. It concludes with what is genuinely my favourite -a mesmerizing saxophone solo. Following this number is the hard rock track, “Rage The Day,” that I believe each of the four members of Mollo Rilla had an adequate amount of time to shine. Viva El Camino comes to a close with the acoustic melodies of the track, “Let’s Go Pt. 2,” -part one of this track is featured a few tracks before.
If you are looking for something comparable to bands such as Queens of the Stone Age or Kyuss, or just something experimental with no artistic boundaries, then Viva El Camino is an album for you. The ten songs on the album are pure, honest expressions from four artists from Cleveland, Ohio that do not want anyone telling them they can’t do something with their music. Their brand new album is pre-orderable now through Bandcamp. The link of which is provided below. Be sure to stay in touch with Mollo Rilla by visiting their social media -also provided below- and make sure to stream and purchase Viva El Camino come December 4th.