Blowout Acoustic Trio

Blowout Acoustic Trio
Blowout Acoustic Trio

The Blowout Acoustic Trio is Portland singer-songwriter Paul Mollomo with guitarist Chuck Muldoon and percussionist Bruce Merson. Mollomo and Merson got together last summer while busking in the Old Port; Muldoon joined a couple months ago. Their self-titled demo/promo CD is a no-frills production that reflects the fact this group is just a few months old.

Mollomo and Muldoon are more-or-less in synch, but they’re still figuring out how to best mesh all 18 strings at their disposal (Muldoon plays a 12-string). This gives the Blowout Acoustic Trio a sound you’ll recognize if you’ve ever shared a campfire with two guitarists who’ve just met. One strums the chords, the other plucks away in whatever scale sounds right, and music is made.

Is it good music? That depends what’s being passed around the fire, and how many times it comes your way.

The material here is basic acoustic rock. Nine of the ten tracks are Mollomo originals (the other was co-written between them), and most are mildly catchy, but the homemade mix doesn’t help Mollomo’s voice or his melodies shine.

In several cases, like the snarly “Serotonin” and the Stonesy “Way Down,” the material seems better suited for full-on electric rocking. Maybe the trio can do a “plugged” gig someday.

Merson keeps time on a snare drum, occasionally giving a cow bell or wood block a couple knocks for accent. These accents tend to come off sounding comic in the context of the songs themselves, which are generally earnest – an exception being the BAT collaboration “Love Time;” with lyrics like “we’re going out for pastrami/on the hot seat my hair’s standin’ up,” the knocks fit right in.

There are moments on this CD that remind me of Loaded-era Velvet Underground: the simple songcraft and drums, Mollomo’s Lou Reedy talk-singing and lyrics (“Holly, she walks the boulevard; lunchtime, she’s sunning in the yard” – from “Holly”).

Mostly, though, I’m back at the campfire, not quite loaded enough.

— Chris Busby

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