Mezzanine Owls - Slingshot Echoes
Albums like this keep me on this job. Discovering bands I'd otherwise know nothing about that, otherwise, would be listed alongside my favorites. Albums that stun the senses totally, a fresh breeze in the middle of a heat wave. Mezzanine Owls have hit a mark with their debut, Slingshot Echoes, that might take another band three or more albums to nail.
Utilizing shoegaze elements ala the originators, Jesus and Mary Chain, and pop sensibilites reminiscent of R.E.M. and later-era Cure, Mezzanine Owls are a wonderful collection of some of indie's best sounds over the years, put into a refreshing modern context. The production is spot-on and creates a nice balance all over the album, which aids the songwriting. That facet of the music, the songs themselves, are as strong as any I've heard on a debut; the melodic hooks, whether distorted and driven by feedback or cleaned up, always catch at the right moments and create sweeping pieces that get stuck in your head and your feet. The vocals lie somewhere between Chris Anderson and James Mercer; they lend a perfectly acceptable pop aesthetic to the music that both fits perfectly in and lets the more atypical lyrics become easily digestable. I recommend the tracks "Moving Ground", "Coyote" (which is absolutely beautiful) and the anthemic "Wake Up", as well as the rest of the album, if you didn't pick up on that yet.
With a debut like this, Mezzanine Owls have left a big footprint, and it will be interesting to get to hear their new EP to see if they can follow it up. A band like this must translate very well in a live environment as well. I can recommend Slingshot Echoes to fans of 'indie' rock far and wide, especially fans of The Shins, R.E.M. and The Cure. Emotive, brilliantly written pop-rock like this never gets old for me, which is surprising coming from someone who calls himself a metalhead. Let that be the most ringing endorsement I can offer. Check 'em out.
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