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Mock Orange | Daniels EP | review | alternative | Lollipop
The Band Apart/Mock Orange
Daniels E.P. (Asian Gothic)
by Tim Den
I can't think of another pairing more worthy of your import dollars. Though Daniels E.P. is a Japanese-only split that'll surely cost you a bundle, the fact that you get three new songs each from The Band Apart and Mock Orange means that it'll most certainly be better than anything else you purchase this year. I shit you not, these two acts are among the best in indie rock, each a clusterfuck of imagination, technical wizardry, and melodious excellence.
Following their masterpiece, Mind is Not Brain, my homeboys Mock Orange's entries here continue down the path toward seamlessly fusing their love for bluegrass, country, and Led Zeppelin into Built To Spill/Jeremy Enigk melodies. "Til the Morning," a much beloved live staple, finally gets put to tape, and - while not as explosive as its live version (dubbed "Funk Grenade" by the band) - it is the perfect example of how these four dudes are single-handedly molding the new face of Midwestern rock. Their background as Evansville, IN natives is not shunned: Rather, it's drawn upon to provide all those chicken-scratch guitar licks, classic rock bombast, and post-hardcore tempo changes. Name another band that's tried something similar, much less succeeded at it. Having written the next full-length three times over (and scratched everything due to their OCD pursuit for perfection), I predict whatever comes after Daniels E.P. will (again) shatter the senses.
Japan's The Band Apart are no less astonishing. The first time I heard these guys, I felt ashamed to be a guitarist/songwriter. Imagine Stevie Wonder writing songs for Cursive. Go ahead: I'll give you a few minutes. YEAH. WTF?! With as much Motown groove as Detroit, but also as many doodling instrumental battles as, well, Mock Orange, The Band Apart are unlike anything you've ever heard. Whether it's grinding your ass against the unbelievable beats, or throwing up from being impressed by the players' prowess, you cannot go wrong with these guys. And, much like Mock Orange, such a combination of seemingly opposite qualities is pulled off without sweat. Naturally, gracefully, effortlessly. Extra kudos to mixing up a bunch of Mock Orange riffs into a song ("Evansville Anthem"), showing that these guys are not only music masters but funny dudes, too.
Really, seriously, this is as good as indie rock gets. The word "flawless" was invented for this purpose. If you don't shell out the bucks for it, you might as well go listen to the radio, cuz you just ain't fuckin' trying hard enough.