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Mojo Fins – The Spirit EP

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Mojo Fins – The Spirit EP

Posted on 11 June 2012 by Dorian

When I reviewed Shake The Darkness, The Mojo Fins album from the middle of last year, I wanted the band to rough things up a bit and explore a more natural sound. Their new release, The Spirit EP (again recorded by Dave Eringa), hardly sounds like a garage recording but it does have a more organic sound. This sound, with simpler arrangements than on the album, suits their songs better and is a definite step forward.

Mojo Fins The Spirit EP

The songs also have more of a hook than before, although we aren’t talking about three minute pop songs here. The band still want to produce a big anthemic sound, but the songs are more memorable and have stronger melodies this time around.

Title track ‘Sweet Spirit’ starts things off perfectly with some beautifully picked folky acoustic guitar and brushed drums before the instruments build up and multi-tracked vocals come in. ‘Palace of Memory’ opens with haunting echoed piano before some more exquisitely played acoustic guitar comes in behind the records most restrained and strongest vocal performance. It is also the EPs best tune and most memorable chorus.

‘K2’ is folkier still and benefits from a musical space that was perhaps lacking on the band’s last long player. Just when you’d expect the song to kick in with a wash of instruments it doesn’t; instead we get restrained drums and more picked guitar. ‘When I Go’ finishes the EP in similar style, keyboards and electric guitar building the sound back to a sound more like the opening track, and it is a satisfying finish to a strong set of songs.

Other reviews of the band have used the dreaded “c” word, Coldplay. As with other examples (Milagres, one of my favourite acts from The Great Escape spring to mind) this is not really a fair or accurate comparison, and a bit of a lazy one. The similarities start and end with the production values and (at a push) the vocal style. The arrangements, playing and songs owe little to Chris Martin’s band of stadium bores. In fact it sounds a lot more like Prefab Sprout, and that (intentional or otherwise) is a far worthier source of inspiration.

I’d still like to hear the band rough things up a bit, and maybe look at a producer who, for want of a better word, “produces” less. However, this EP is a real step forward and contains some of the best music the band have put on record to date.

8/10

By Dorian Rogers

The Mojo Fins play at The Concorde 2 this Wednesday supported by Thomas White, Forestears and Bat County. Details on the Facebook event page.

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The Mojo Fins – Shake The Darkness

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The Mojo Fins – Shake The Darkness

Posted on 20 June 2011 by Dorian

The uncertainty of the music business, and the ease of home recording, has lead to an increase in bedroom produced records over the last few years. This has created a gulf between the haves and have nots of the music industry making the big sound primarily the domain of the super rich band. The Mojo Fins have bucked the trend by decamping to the Rockfield Studios (the studio where some of the greatest albums of the last 40 years have been recorded) to record with Manic Street Preachers and Idlewild producer Dave Eringa.

The Mojo Fins

Album opener, ‘Books Begin’ sets the stall pretty well, the guitars are effects heavy and the drums heavy in the mix. It also introduces some the beautifully played strings that are laced throughout the album. ‘Last Dance of the Decade’ of the decade improves on the formula with more prominent use of the strings and a nice melody on the chorus.

Overall this isn’t an album built around catchy hooks, although these are pop songs, as the sound and mood of the album are what catches the attention. This isn’t a criticism as the playing and production are spot on throughout and they have created a consistent mood which makes this very much an album experience (again, a little at odds with the single track consumption model).

‘Owning My Condition’ sits nicely at the middle of the album and dirties the guitars a bit, a nice change of pace from the clean and polished sound that pervades the majority of the record. The same is true of ‘Broken Link’, a song that has elements of The National in the guitar sounds on display.

With an album of this type; well produced, dramatic guitars and romantic singing style, it is difficult not to mention Coldplay. Unfortunately any band trying to produce music like this will be lumped in with Chris Martin’s bunch. That does ignore the fact that Coldplay got all their best ideas from Radiohead and Jeff Buckley, and it is some of the same influences that can be heard on ‘Shake The Darkness’. I was also interested to hear an 80s smooth pop sound on some of the tracks, and found myself reminded of some of Prefab Sprouts big romantic numbers.

All in all a good album that makes superb use of the studio environment, and layers on the instruments with aplomb. I’d be interested to hear an album that was rougher, and more immediate, from the band but there is plenty of time for that on their next release.

7.5/10

The Mojo Fins play an album launch gig at Brighton’s Green Door Store on June 24th.

By Dorian Rogers

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Introducing…The Mojo Fins

Posted on 21 September 2010 by Joe

Introducing….

Introducing…. continuing our new regular feature looking at some of the exciting acts around that you may not have heard of (yet).

Where are they from? Brighton, UK

Who are they? Stephen Brett – Vocals and guitar, Steve Hoile – Bass, keys, glockenspiel and vocals, Adam Luke Atkins – Guitar and vocals, Dave Russell – Drums and percussion

What do they sound like? “Elliott Smith, Tortoise and The Shins in a brown bread sandwich.” is how they describe their sound, and it is a pretty good summary. They are as strong on melodies and harmonies as that description would suggest.

What have they got to say for themselves? The last couple of years have been busy. The Mojos recorded and self-produced their first album – ‘The Sound That I Still Hear’, and then worked on acoustic versions of many songs off the album, consequently filming a live performance (available on iTunes and viewable on YouTube). At the start of 2009, they achieved a top ten place in the Q Music Emerging Talent competition and, in the summer, played Glastonbury (what a joy!). This year will be finished in style with a headline slot at the Pavilion Theatre in Brighton on Saturday November 28th. Meanwhile, the band has been patiently working on material for album no.2, which they hope to start recording in early 2010.

What releases/tracks should I look out for? The bands debut album The Sound That I Still Here is available now along with the singles ‘Always Now’, ‘In the Script’ and ‘Pinata Face’. ‘Meet Me At The Pictures’ will be released in January 2010. All Releases are available on Amazon and iTunes.

Where can I find out more? www.themojofins.com www.myspace.com/themojofins

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