Mark Allen has modest goals for his self-released, self-titled EP: he just wants to sell the CDs he’s having produced. Despite the opportunities offered by the digital world, Allen isn’t concerned with taking his music online right away, and for this EP release ahead of a planned full-length album this summer, he’s going old school in terms of distribution. That’s an approach well-suited to Allen’s music, which is 100 percent old-school rock.
Allen’s influences are crystal clear from the initial chords of “Hit the Road,” the first of the EP’s three songs. After a slow, chiming intro, the song kicks in with a chugging distorted guitar riff that underpins the rest of the tune. Allen acknowledges that riff’s similarity to The Guess Who’s “American Woman,” but there’s just as much of Ted Nugent’s “Stranglehold” in the song’s vocal melody and unwavering tempo. There is, too, a touch of early Kiss in the song’s heavy simplicity, but Allen’s vocals never reach the extremes of Paul Stanley’s wail or Gene Simmons’ growl.
The moderately lighter “Baby I Got You” finds a spot for Allen within the Kiss cosmos, however, as the song’s janglier melody and mid-range vocal fall into line with the band’s Ace Frehley-fronted material.
If any of the three songs are incongruous, it would be “No More Yesterdays,” a song that pairs the grimy guitar from decadent 70s rock with an inspirational Christian refrain. Otherwise, the song toes the same tempo line as the other two, keeping the EP solidly consistent in its reverence for old-time music.