Sound — 9
Heralding from Doylestown, PA, The Mahlors have worked their way into some of the biggest venues in the Philadelphia area and have become a local favorite. The band has endured several lineup changes since its formation in 2008, but the current members have all the right qualities to get the band to the top. Their first albums "Give In" and the self-titled "The Mahlors" were very well received, but the self-proclaimed "rock-reggae" band's third album "Stay True" has what it takes to get the band its big break. Lead singer Justin Jones shines on the album, and his vocals are on par with some of the best rock and reggae vocalists in the industry. Bassist Anthony Villar's talent is also showcased on the album, providing thick bass lines which give the album just the right amount of funk. "Stay True" shows The Mahlors can blend a wide range of influences into what seems like a genre they invented. The band has found a way to seamlessly combine the sounds of rock, reggae, folk, funk, and punk. And it works very, very well.
Lyrics — 6
The lyrics are good, but nothing unique to the reggae genre. However, they fit the melodies well, and, excuse the cliche, but Jones could sing a phonebook and make it sound amazing.
Overall Impression — 9
The Mahlors kick off the album with a title track which features funky guitar riffs and unique harmonies that give the song a kind of Phish-meets-Sublime sound. The tracks "Propakanji" and "Morning Rise" are, in short, the essence of reggae. Guitarist Ryan DeHaven's harmonies backing Jones's lead vocals are spot on. DeHaven's short and edgy guitar tones combined with TJ Haslett's drumming ability are key assets, making the songs an ultimate success. But The Mahlors's influences are not solely reggae and funk. The band's ability to combine different sounds is what makes them so great. For instance, "Youth Group Slut" features an intro and chorus that are clearly influenced by 70s punk. Seriously, it could be a Ramones song, but The Mahlors deliver it perfectly. The song with perhaps the most potential to be a hit single is "Down". Each band member's talent is showcased on the song, and you'll be humming the chorus in your head for days. It's catchy, clever, and proof that The Mahlors are definitely "radio ready". Jones, Villar, DeHaven, and Haslett are all on their game. No specific member brings the others down, and the album's mixing is better than some of today's biggest bands. We will definitely be seeing a lot more of them in the future.