By Mike O’Cull
The Black Moods deliver the straight-up rock and roll goods on the band’s sophomore record Sunshine, which dropped May 8th, 2020 on the Steelhorse Entertainment/The Fuel imprint.
The group is a mighty power trio made up of frontman/guitarist Josh Kennedy, drummer Chico Diaz and bassist Jordan Hoffman that makes great, crunching rock music with big guitar tones, strong hooks, and excellent lyrics. The three players exhibit a strong classic rock influence but also have cool things of their own to say, a combination that makes the songs on Sunshine both respectful to the past and plugged into the present. It’s a modernized take on anthemic hook rock that will have listeners everywhere reaching for the Volume knob.
Based in Arizona, The Black Moods have built an audience with the old-school approach of touring relentlessly behind albums full of killer songs. On the road since 2012, the band has gone from local shows to cracking the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart and has grown a following that’s still increasing exponentially. The vibe is an irresistible mix of timeless artists like Gin Blossoms, The Doors, and Foo Fighters that encompasses everything that’s perfect about rock and roll and launches it into the future. This bunch is so true to the spirit of rock music that they tracked Sunshine in their Phoenix rehearsal spot with Grammy Award-winning producer Johnny “K” Karkazis, who set up a makeshift studio rig to properly capture their onstage sweat and energy.
The record starts with the title track “Sunshine,” a driving alt-rock banger with a knockout chorus. The Black Moods lock together into a massive pocket that could get a stadium crowd on its feet. Guitarist Kennedy leans into it all the way and displays the kind of rhythm playing that creates Hall Of Fame careers. Once the vocal hooks hit, you’re done for. The only way out is to listen to the rest of the set straight through. “Bella Donna” kicks in next and ups the ante with a heavy shuffle feel and an infusion of Doors-ish darkness and abandon. The track has already charted into the Top 40 for the band and it’s easy to see why. It’s got that live-show grit and explosiveness that compels people to give their lives to rock and roll and will definitely help to power up the next generation of fans.
“Do It Again” nods its head to the 1970s and the 1990s simultaneously and puts down another earworm chorus supported by a big-league rock beat. Echoes of Cheap Trick and Foo Fighters run through it and prove how deep The Black Moods radio-rock roots extend. Kennedy adds some tasty wah-laden guitar licks that push the track nicely and keep things interesting. “Bad News” is a brooding, angst-ridden song that communicates the stress of desire and the thoughts it can lead to. The band riffs like a single coiled spring, coming off as one dedicated ensemble rather than three separate egos.
“Dirty Mess” begins with a somber bass intro topped with the textural magic of tremolo-soaked guitar and smooth vocal harmonies before hitting the gas pedal in the chorus. It’s a moody song that spotlights the singing and writing talents of this exceptional crew. “Throwing Shade” is another hit waiting to happen with soaring vocals, outstanding guitar tones, and a physically motivating groove. Josh Kennedy is a fine and expressive singer who knows how to wring every last bit out of a great tune and turns this one into a clinic on how the trick is done. The Black Moods are one of the undeniable rock bands of this age and Sunshine could well be the record that turns them into stars. The louder you play it, the better it gets.
The Black Moods Online