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Album Review

The edgy, highly textured, and propulsive energy of this band — essentially the duo of singer, guitarist, and chief songwriter Jonathan Bates and guitarist Tony DeMatteo, but there are two other members — completely fails to live up to its name. And that's a good and exciting thing, even the total point, for fans who like a mix of hypnotic dance beats and blistering, in-your-face rock. The two-and-a-half-minute opening track, "C'mon Try a Little Bit," is irresistible rumbling ambient new age rock bliss, building in intensity with a whispery vocal invitation to a unique musical experience. "Oh My" chimes in next, with its mix of jangly guitars, '80s-flavored dance beats, and fiery rock intensity. There's something of a mercurial vision throughout the 13 songs, as simple folksy introductions become trippy sonic fusions and later true explosions ("Four Leaf Clover"). The tracks shift effortlessly from moody space pop that bubbles with spacy textures ("Limb to Limb") to cut-like-a-knife synth pop throbbing with post-disco grooves ("Amazing"). Then there are brooding new wave hybrids with slyly catchy melodies ("Fashionable Uninvited"). The retro-meets-modern vibe and otherworldliness throughout are partly fashioned by producer Tony Berg, who is best known for his work with X and Beck.

Biography

Formed: 1999 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Though the Venezuelan-born, Miami-bred guitarist and lead singer of Mellowdrone, Jonathan Bates, had been playing the instrument since a child, it wasn't until he got to Berklee School of Music that he realized he was simply a technically proficient guitar player, and didn't actually know much about music. At age 20, and a year before graduating, Bates left Boston and moved to Los Angeles to begin seriously composing and recording his own music. His 2003 self-released EPs, A Demonstration of Intellectual...
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