With 2002's "Masquerade", guitarist Reb Beach (ex-WINGER) proved he can stand on his own making music comfortably outside the hair metal boundaries of WINGER. He has now hooked up with KING'S X vocalist/bassist Doug Pinnick, drummer/backing vocalist Kelly Keagy (NIGHT RANGER), keyboardist Timothy Drury (ex-EAGLES), and producer Kip Winger to form THE MOB. The self-titled debut is chock full of melodic, AOR-style hard rock that hits more than it misses.
Unsurprisingly, it is Beach's impressive guitar work and Pinnick's uniquely soulful vocals that make the album, not to mention some darn solid songwriting. Songs like the hooky grooves of "One Track Mind", the funky 'n' melodious "Never Get Enough", and smooth tunefulness of "The Wait" could all be considered highlights. The group has a commanding grasp of driving, riff-based tempos and infectious melodies that make for easily digested songs that still keep the "rock" firmly intact. Pinnick shines when allowed to ride a smooth melody, the cases in point being the catchy, radio-friendly "Turn to Stone" and acoustic closer "I Want to Live Forever". A little bit of KING's X is apparent throughout, even if it is never exactly prominent. Keagy sings lead on the soul-burning ballad "The Magic" with its laid back acoustic chords and bits of slide guitar. An up-tempo instrumental called "Spaghetti Western" serves as more than a showcase for Beach's playing, as the tune is a tough rockin' jam that fits nicely amidst the more traditionally verse-chorus-verse material. A handful of tunes, such as "No Reason Why" are a notch above middling, but still basically enjoyable. Most obvious is that THE MOB has chemistry. You can hear it in the way the songwriting comes off naturally, rather than being a forced product of a group of journeymen musicians.
"The Mob" is well suited for those that like their melodies big and their rhythm rock solid, but it is also refreshing for those wanting a break from over-the-top extremity. There is something to be said for music that gets you to hum a melody and move with the beat. THE MOB may not take the world by storm, but there is certainly a lot to like here.