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
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
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
- Shinda Shima
- Paris Sous La Neige (Single Version)
- Another Mellow Winter
- Sun Dance
- Instant Love
- Mellow (Part 1)
- Mellow (Part 2)
- Lovely Light
- Mellow (Organic Version)
- Mellow (Fila Brazilia Mix #1)
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