Mojave 3 - Spoon And Rafter
Opening proceedings with the epic, nine minute mantra Bluebird Of Happiness, it’s clear Mojave 3’s fourth album Spoon And Rafter could be the making of the band just when some had feared the band lost for good. With it’s driving lyric of “Gotta Find A Way To Get Home Stong, Gotta Find A Way Back Home”, the opening song sets the scene perfectly in the listener’s mind, and forms a lingering cross-section of Grandaddy, The Beta Band and most importantly Mercury Rev.
Spooner And Rafter evokes images of a cosmic journey through a natural soundscape. It’s far catchier than the initial melodies suggests. Starlite # 1 suggests that after an album hiatus of three years the band hasn’t lost their musical grace. Principal songwriter Neil Halstead is even pushing his way to the head of the queue to become Britain’s answer to Mark Linkus.
Albums that refuse to follow the codes and conventions of their stylistic genres are become increasingly hard to pigeonhole, and Mojave 3’s sound drives the band through many musical sectors in its fifty-plus minute running time. Occasionally, a touch of blandness can set in, and the contrived lo-fi production sometimes fails to make an impact. Sometimes, a fantastical element of instrumentation such as xylophone or string backing lifts the material, but the tranquillity of the rural peace of Halstead’s songs seem content to wallow as a minor soundtrack of that moment.
Battle Of The Brokenhearts is a piano-based catchy mellow dancer that shifts tone completely throughout the middle-eighth, and suggests the almost deliberate meanderings of the band. Tinkers Blues has a punchier bass-line than usual, and Too Many Mornings is a more upbeat filler as the penultimate track. All in all this is a strong anthology of heartbroken romanticism.
It’s easy to recommend Mojave 3 along with their album Spoon And Rafter, although it’s very hard to make any claims that the album will leave any lasting impressions. Fans of Halstead’s previous band Slowdive will detect traces of the former band in the sound mix, but it’s clear that Mojave 3 is where his priorities now lie.