Enter the Mellowdrone
A few songs into their first full-length album Box, itâ€šÃ„Ã´s apparent that Mellowdrone intended their sound to be a moving target, jumping freely between trippy, ambient grooves, edgy rock, folky guitars and energetic dance numbers. This is an approach that, while not always successful, is a consistently exciting listen. Box takes a page from Trickyâ€šÃ„Ã´s playbook on the trip-hop opener â€šÃ„ÃºCâ€šÃ„Ã´mon try a little bit,â€šÃ„Ã¹ then jumps in quick succession to the Brit pop sounds of â€šÃ„ÃºOh Myâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and the Beck vibe of â€šÃ„ÃºFour Leaf Cloverâ€šÃ„Ã¹ with itâ€šÃ„Ã´s acoustic guitar loop, hip-hop inspired beats and stream of consciousness lyrics. While itâ€šÃ„Ã´s always been easy to compare them to other artists, On Box Mellowdrone have managed to craft their diverse influences into a collage of sounds all their own.
Box doesnâ€šÃ„Ã´t always overcome the unfocused feeling inherent in changing up the sound so much across one album. Still, Mellowdroneâ€šÃ„Ã´s energy and skill are undeniable and cuts like the aptly titled â€šÃ„ÃºAmazingâ€šÃ„Ã¹ makes wading through the albumâ€šÃ„Ã´s lower moments worth the effort. â€šÃ„ÃºFashionably Uninvitedâ€šÃ„Ã¹ is an explosive retro-rock number about universal feelings of alienation and the raucous chorus of â€šÃ„ÃºFuck It Manâ€šÃ„Ã¹ gets my vote for pissed-off, sing-along anthem of the summer. Frontman and Berklee graduate Jonathan Bates clearly has the chops, crafting lush and hypnotic melodies over layers of keyboards, inventive arrangements and virtuoso guitars. Buried in the mix of â€šÃ„ÃºOh Myâ€šÃ„Ã¹ is a solo worthy of any metal guitar giant.
Box represents a leap forward from their earlier EP work and Mellowdrone have clearly found a sympathetic ear in producer
Tony Bero, creating an album that will satisfy both current fans and newcomers alike.