Mock Orange | Captain Love (Wednesday)

cd_mock-orange.jpgMock Orange has not remained static, recently touring and recording a split EP.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Generally classified in their early days as a second-wave emo band, in 2002 Evansville, Ind.’s Mock Orange made a decided shift in style with 2002’s First EP. The title was both literal and symbolic. The Mock Orange of new was more poppy with a detectable Modest Mouse influence to them. However, it was with 2004’s Mind Is Not Brain that said shift came full circle. Mind Is Not Brain was a revelation; an unexpected stunner. It would have been an overstatement to call it so, but that record was damn near perfect. Filled with memorable hooks, lyrics and overflowing exuberance, it won me over. Not only was it one of the best records of the year, it remains one of the best records I have ever heard.

Since then, Mock Orange has not remained static, recently touring and recording a split EP with Japan’s The Band Apart in 2005. And as Captain Love shows, their songwriting has evolved as well. Let’s just put it this way: If Mind Is Not Brain is an espresso, Captain Love is a cup of decaf. Both records are decidedly Mock Orange, but Mind Is Not Brain just has more kick to it.

With that qualifier, Captain Love commences with two of the peppiest and best songs in the title track and the fantastic "Song in D." On this disc, when it comes to the more mellow numbers, "World of Machines," the loopy "Lila," "Motel Man" and the soaring "Majestic Raincoat" really stand out. Oh, and those peppy numbers which are less abundant? They pop up again with "Supergang" and the hidden track "Beauty of a Scar." Suffice to say, both are also up there when discussing Captain Love’s best moments.

While it is lacking its predecessor’s flow and immediacy, Love is still a high-quality follow up. It again shows why guitarist Ryan Grisham is one of the great vocalists in indie rock. His distinctive, falsetto-laden vocals are so damn endearing, they just put a sloppy, stupid grin on your face. Mock Orange may not approach flawlessness this time around, but I suppose that is a forgivable offense. B+ | David Lichius

RIYL: Pavement and indie rock that jingles and jangles

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