|MP3 Sample: Burnt Umber
"First let’s talk about Steuart Liebig, the multi-faceted miscreant who squeezed the hybrid beast known as The Mentones out of his juicy mind. Steuart is well known in L.A. as one of the most significant improvising electric bass torturers and electronic manipulators in recent memory and, I’m grateful to say, a major contributor to most of the music I’ve done in the last decade and a half. The metaphor of a diamond with its many facets comes to mind, but that doesn’t quite get it. Imagine the diamond periodically reverting to its primal molten state and shooting out semi-controlled bursts of radioactive plasma melting everything in its reach. I could say that for Steuart the Mentones is an anomaly, but in a way every project he constructs is an anomaly. I will say this—there is nothing like the Mentones on this earth that I’ve ever heard of and even though you may recognize some of its disparate original elements, you will be whacked by how cohesively they come together in Liebig’s compositions. An adult dose of Little Walter crashing his Coupe de Ville into Ornette Coleman’s harmolodien. Howling Wolf gnawing on John Coltrane’s left ear like Mike Tyson. As for the other men in the Mentones: Bill Barrett takes the chromatic harp well beyond its limits like a rubber band stretched into a Mobius strip. Tony Atherton is soulful, relentless and driving. Joe Berardi grooves these odd time signatures like his mother nursed him on non-Euclidean geometry. It’s all that and it’s definitely enough." – G.E. Stinson
"As far as I know, Little Walter Jacobs never sat in with Ornette Coleman, nor was the reverse known to have ever happened. Paul Butterfield never toured as a member of King Crimson. And I never believed the story that members of Brother Weasel, Bazooka, and Unique Cheerful Events were hatching unnatural musical strategies in the back of an unmarked van parked outside of Mr. T's Bowl.
Listening to this CD, however, confirms the suspicion that the aforementioned fables, rumors and outright lies exist in some sort of musical continuum, and that the Mentones are leaders in their particular field. After gigging around LA under the name Beutet since the turn of the century, bassist/composer Steuart Liebig changed the band's name about a year-and-a-half ago, but their music remains a collision between the familiar and the far-out. Liebig and drummer Joe Berardi step away from UCE's space n' groove approach for more tightly-wound lines and quick fills. The alto saxophone lines of Tony Atherton come from both jazz and r n' b, recalling at times the work of British jazz-rock greats of thirty years ago, like Dick Heckstall-Smith, Elton Dean and Jack Lancaster." - Michael Davis, JazzWeekly.com (excerpt)