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Mojave 3
"Spoon and Rafter"
by: Sun-J

Ten years ago, Mojave 3's functional group dropped an album under the name Slowdive called Souvlaki, and they were quickly accredited into the "shoegazing" movement. Essentially a genre which bridged the gap between light country and experimental rock. Think My Bloody Valentine or even Wilco, though that is a stretch. Lead singer, Neil Halsted has always kept the same approach to song writing. His sound is of a gentle, flourishing approach, packed with subtle drums and brushing guitar strokes over whimsical singing which always seems to morph into harmonious whispers. Mojave 3's 2000 release, Excuses for Travelers and Halsted's 2002 solo release were hallmark albums. On Mojave 3's current release, Spoon and Rafter, little new ground is discovered, moreover, Mojave 3's techniques become sharper and this album perhaps establishes a characteristic sound.

Call it daring, call it brash, call it asinine, but I call it confident. Not many bands have the cacahuates to begin an album with a nine minute track, but Mojave 3 does just that. "Bluebird of Happiness," is nine minutes of hesitant murmurs and sporadic gleams of pop to portray an experimental feel. With all the clicks and beeps, it is highly reminiscent of Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. The "la, la, la's," of "Starlight #1," will lull you onto cloud nine and the pensive broken hearts of "Writing to St. Peter," and "Too Many Mornings," will comfort those in depressive states. "Hard to Miss You," is a subtle piano driven melody which is followed by Halsted's withering voice while "She's All Up Above," features an aching guitar verse. "Tinker's Blue" is very Beatles like with its heavy British influence while "Between the Bars," feeds off a country fried feel with its banjo and harmonica parts.

Spoon and Rafter covers no new ground for Mojave 3. It is a sequel to their previous works. It is filled with haze and tranquility, lazy tones and serenelysung lyricism over lightly rolled drums. Close your eyes and listen to the lyrics intertwine with the instrumentation and you will smile. If you like Wilco, you will appreciate this album.



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