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