The new album from Florida-based act The Smokeboss Militia, Rise Again struts a rollicking sound with a timeless Americana, country, and blues intertwining. The project comes via Andy “The Smokeboss” Mensing, renowned for his work as the rhythm guitarist in San Diego-based punk act Rat City Riot. The ever-eclectic Mensing successfully pursues a rootsier rock charm here, supported by a collective of musicians — billed as a “13-piece near orchestra.”
“It’s hard to sum up,” Mensing says of the new album. “It’s a collection of songs I wrote over many years. So it covers a lot of ground and goes in a lot of different directions. It’s a really fun blend of many artists, genres and styles that hopefully takes the listener (on) an amazing ride. I think I can safely say there’s something for everyone here, or at least that is the intention.”
The vibrancy of opener “Ain’t It Just Like You” fuses barn-set strings and twangy guitars amidst a spirited vocal duet. Clanging piano effects emerge as the vocals momentarily fade, with strings appearing prominently with delectable results past the mid-point. “I’m Out” is another highlight, channeling a rootsier The Allman Brothers in its rousing title-referencing hook. “Misunderstood” also appeals with its brisk organ-laden engrossment, also stirring with its vocal duet and lyrics: “When I think something’s wrong, I’m right,” — playing like an anthem for those who feel misunderstood. Rise Again is an impactful, fun showcase in sturdy Americana songwriting and performance from The Smokeboss Militia.
“Ain’t It Just Like You” and other tracks featured this month can be streamed on the updating Obscure Sound’s ‘Best of December 2023’ Spotify playlist.