Lead Mule is back with Parts & Labour, the follow-up to their self-titled 2013 debut album. Hailing from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Lead Mule’s four-piece heavy rock and three-part harmonies are an enjoyable blend of energetic guitar riffs and catchy choruses. While Parts & Labour is officially being released on August 26th, here’s your chance to get an early listen.
Opening hard with the eponymous track ‘Parts & Labour’, Lead Mule makes it clear what they’re here to do with this album. With an infectious beat, memorable chorus, vocal stylings reminiscent of Audioslave, and a solid guitar solo, it’s a perfect opener to set the stage for what follows in the album, as well as the clear choice for a teaser song to have been given a video with early release.
Some of the strongest tracks on the album follow suit- fast, loud, and heavy. ‘Break’, ‘Special Someone’, and ‘Witch Hunt’ all stand out especially as capturing these core elements in significantly different ways. ‘Break’, the album’s first official single, carries solid momentum throughout, but retains a cleaner sound with more of a focus on vocal performance and harmony than the instrumental component. ‘Special Someone’, on the other hand, starts out with the catchiest riff of the album before leading into more of a classic rock feel, complete with a skillful guitar solo and upbeat, harmonized chorus. As the single heaviest track on the album, ‘Witch Hunt’ leaves a lasting impression with intense metal riffs carrying throughout while not compromising Lead Mule’s classic vocal style.
This isn’t to say that the whole album is fast and heavy. Tracks such as ‘Finest Kind’, ‘Semi Automatic’, and ‘No One’s Fault’ are somewhat slower, lighter fare, but that’s not to say they pack any less of a punch. ‘Finest Kind’ has the nostalgic fondness of hometown memories with much more of an uplifting feel than most of the album, and this distinctive sound certainly makes it stand out as one of Parts & Labour’s more satisfying songs. ‘Semi Automatic’ carries itself with more of a western feel with a catchy, winding melody that couples well with both the constant quick pace of the lyrics as well as an extended instrumental section. The album’s final track, ‘No One’s Fault’ is a more sorrowful, introspective song, opening with subdued sounds and lyrics of doubt and regret, gradually building into more complex guitar work and some fairly bleak fatalism: “Underneath, it’s so dark, and we’re fighting to get out/All we need are the prophets to remind us we’ll just die”.
Overall, Parts & Labour gives us everything we could ask from a four-piece rock album, canvasing Lead Mule’s solid, diverse songwriting talents, skilled musicianship, and adaptability to a variety of styles without losing their own sound. An excellent listen from start to finish, we highly recommend checking out Parts & Labour once it’s out on August 26th.