Paul Curreri - The Mantra EP

Ross Drummond 22/04/2007

Rating: 4/5

Paul Curreri is a hidden gem, when you talk about him you want everyone to know but you don't want him to be taken away from you. He's well into his recording career and it's all to critical acclaim with The Rolling Stone singing his praises and rightfully so. He is sublime, his fretwork is near perfect, his singing timeless and his song's beautiful.

With his latest record and first for his UK label Tin Angel Records (home to some other brilliant artists including his wife Devon Sproule) 'The Velvet Rut' not due to be released until late may, The Mantra EP has been pressed, which includes 4 tracks off of said soon to be released record and 3 tracks didn't quite make it.

The Wasp opens the EP, with it's crashing Drum and acoustic guitar telling stories that are hard to come by any more, Johnny Cash would be proud of the spoken interlude and anyone in Nashville would be proud of Curreri's guitar work.

A Song On Robbing would be your single for sure, with Curreri's raspy voice melodic and charming and the occasional sound effects reminding that you aren't listening to a classic piece of americana music. The honky-tonk piano just reinforces that catchy chorus, the one you might have already heard on the radio.

Loretta is the love song, albeit the dark one, with it's repeating guitar and the harmonious vocals it's a tale of reminiscence but their is something sinister in it's verses that you can't point your finger on, it's something that keeps you listening, something that makes Paul Curreri so brilliant. Something special.
Don't Drink an instrumental is just showing you why he's so mesmerising live, his fingers can tell a story when the word's are absent.

Bad Things, What I'm Gonna Do To You and Down By The Water are the tracks that didn't make the record. Songs that aren't good enough for a Paul Curreri record are by no means lesser in quality, it's just that the man's output is so near flawless that their is too much. One man's trash is another man's treasure.