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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.

Customer Reviews

A Stellar Debut

I must say, I bought this album on a whim and without thinking. I had been exchanging messages to and from Mellowdrone via Myspace, and I felt they were a group of pretty cool guys. Then they messaged me, telling me their album had just been released on iTunes. I had some money in the ole iTunes bank, so I just downloaded it immediately, without really thinking whether I would like it or not. And boy, I sure was happy with what I got. Mellowdrone's "Box" is every Alt. Rock fan's dream. It's a very dark album, with loads of electronic and techno influence which flow in and out of every song. But, where most bands fail with electronic tricks, Mellowdrone just seems to sail and soar to new heights. After listening to the *awesome* instrumental album opener, and giving my ears 3 and a half minutes of bliss with their first single, "Oh My", I figured this would be a somewhat fast-paced, while dark, album. As it turns out, I was somewhat wrong. Yes, Mellowdrone does indeed know how to rock, but this album's heart and soul is the range of slow, airy, atmospheric, dark songs which carry the album along at an awesomely slow, yet in no way relaxed pace. As a band, Mellowdrone is very talented. The guitars are varied and not over-powering, but still a presence. The drums, (most of which sound made with an electronic set or drum machine) fit the style perfectly. And the singer has a sexy voice which can become extremely high and yelping, but in the same song, (same measure, even), his voice can go very low. The song "Madison" is a great example of this. He has great range, and he has a distinct, unique, and at the same time, talented voice. The lyrics are, as you guessed, dark, somewhat despondent ("Fashionably Uninvited"), sometimes angry ("And Repeat"), and always very vivid and heartfelt. As a whole, the album comes together perfectly. They are dark and absorbing like "She Wants Revenge", but can sound a bit like "The Bravery" at times. If you're looking for a good, somewhat dark / electronic, electrifying debut album from a talented young band, look no further than Mellowdrone's "Box". This is hardly an album you'll see plastered all over billboards, but if you have an appreciation for Alternative music, they're talent will astound you.

One Word: Excellent

I went and saw Mellowdrone by mistake. I was at a She Wants Revenge concert, and Mellowdrone came up, and instead of going out to get a drink, I stayed and enjoyed this band. I bought their cd, and I even got the band to sign it! But this cd is a must have, but if u dont feel like spending $9.99, just buy Beautiful Day, and Bone Marrow. They are the 2 best songs.

"Amazing" is right

This album is a nice improvement in sound and quality from Mellowdrone's last albums. Favorite tracks include "Amazing," "Four Leaf Clover," "F**k It Man," and of course the Project Runway & Nissan commercial theme "Oh My."


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...
Full Bio
Box, Mellowdrone
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Customer Ratings