Mojave 3 alumni returns with shimmering, hazy debut.
Gently starting with an instrumental called ‘Croxted Crows’, this album slowly unfolds as a sweetly pastoral, gentle, psychedelic delight. There are minor chords and delicate harmonies, phased effects and carefully arranged instrumentation all combining to create a hazy, heady, summery sound. Supported by fellow Mojave 3 troubadours Neil Halstead and Ian McCutcheon as well as all of Chapterhouse, another of Rowe’s previous bands, there is no radical departure from a previously established template. Particularly, the solo work of Halstead comes to mind wherein the material is not so important so much as the general mood created by the whole, so as we go deeper into the album it becomes more satisfying as songs build upon songs ‘Saturn Saw’, ‘Everybody’s Thinking’ and ‘Over and Over’ have splashes of discordant guitar or climaxes within the songs but these are counterpoints to the overall warmth and hypnoticism of the washing sounds.
Not once does Rowe raise his voice or dare to emote, which does mean that the mood is fairly one-dimensional overall. A very mellow, lovely dimension but still without a great deal of light and shade. ‘Monkey Brain’ threatens to disrupt things with its stridency but also soon subsumes to the script as the harmonies hove into view.
There is much to enjoy here if English psychedelic whimsy is your thing but it perhaps just needed a little more edge to the songwriting to really make the listener notice the songs themselves. Otherwise lovely.
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