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Another Mellow Spring
EMD/Higher Octave

Name the first band that comes to mind: French, synthesizers, processed vocals. Ok, so Air has already laid claim to this genre and anyone else is just an imposter, right? While Mellow wins no points for originality, the sheer bravado and creativity demonstrated on Another Mellow Spring will place this release high on the yearís best list.

Imagine Supertramp, Radiohead and Air all getting together to cover an ELO album, produced by George Martin. If you can conjure up this sound in your mind, you know what Mellow sounds like for the most part. There are a few variations, but the thematic sound of the album is consistent. So much so, that the album comes to an end after what seems like 5 or 6 songs. In actuality, there are 11 songs on this disc, but few of the tracks are different enough to separate themselves from the song before or after it.

"Shinda Shima" starts off Another Mellow Spring with a varied intro, taking us from cheesy pipe organ melody to a Sanatana like moment of guitar indulgence and finally ending in a song that sounds like a stripped down version Airís hit, "Sexy Boy". The combination is jarring upon first listen and confusing from then on, but the meat of the song is surprisingly low key and easy to listen to.

Just as youíve settled yourself into a den of techno-esque experimentalism, "Paris Sous La Neige" comes in and sounds uncharacteristically clean and drenched in pop clichés. The track sounds exactly like what it is, a French band trying to recreate a Brit-pop sound. I canít decide if a dance club would play this because it is a really catchy song or ban it from being played because it is so completely built on pop clichés.

As "Another Mellow Winter" begins, youíd swear you were listening to a cover of Supertrampís "Goodbye Stranger". While the comparison quickly becomes unfair, due to the fact that the track releases itself from the 70ís pop hooks, one does start to question the motivation of Mellow as a band. Are they so completely influenced by 70ís rock that they donít realize theyíre stealing riffs left and right or are they really trying to re-introduce a 25-year-old sound?

Before you can formulate an answer to the above question, Mellow launches into the "Magical Mystery Tour" sounding "Sun Dance". It becomes fascinating how Mellow finds the common threads between so many different brands of popular music over the last 3 decades. While unapologetically ripping off styles at every turn, Mellow have managed to make a seamless album.

"Instant Love" has found itís own special place in my heart. While I know that this song too is just assembled bits of pop hooks left behind over the years, its grace and groove are undeniably cool.

The remixes at the end of the album may very well be the most telling songs on the album. After listening to this album with a "been there, heard that" attitude, the remixes sound incredible. Theyíve done to Mellow what Mellow has done to 30 years of rock music. They some up the reason for Another Mellow Springís existence. The world needs good pop music. Period. Mellow exists to harvest all of these genres for the perfect hooks and to assemble them over and over again to make more good pop music. Another Mellow Spring is a great album because rather than taking something old and playing it off as new, they take something old and just play it off. Maybe this is the next wave of pop music. Or maybe itís just a nice trip back.

ó Tyler Jacobson

Track Listing:

  1. Shinda Shima
  2. Paris Sous La Neige (Single Version)
  3. Another Mellow Winter
  4. Sun Dance
  5. Instant Love
  6. Mellow (Part 1)
  7. Violet
  8. Mellow (Part 2)
  9. Lovely Light
  10. Mellow (Organic Version)
  11. Mellow (Fila Brazilia Mix #1)

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