The style of music that The Mitchells play is indie rock that has more than its fair share of eighties influences (acts like Joy Division and Depeche Mode). Thus, a song like “Still Might Happen” is catchy, vocal-heavy, and full of angular guitar riffs that give form and structure to the track. The band starts strongly, but the opening song seems to have about thirty seconds extra music present that drags down what is really a stellar opening to the disc. “Modern Travel” has a hint or two of Neil Young, but there is still a twinkling, quiet sound that avoids easy categorization.
The band gradually includes more R.E.M. into the mix to give the track energy. By the time that “Modern Travel” ends, The Mitchells have established themselves well in the pantheon of indie rock. The band may not be on a major label or even a well-known indie one, but the music that they play is of that same level of quality. The emotive output of The Mitchells during “Winter Semi-Formal” is perhaps the strongest effort by the act on this already-strong album. The progressions present during this track mesh perfectly with the Spartan vocals that adorn the song. The band may not rocket up the charts any time soon, but they definitely play a style of music that individuals can get behind either when the band plays out live or when they are in the studio. The band creates a high amount of cohesion during the middle parts of the disc, specifically during “Lit Doorbells” and “Book Learning”.
The modification of the guitar lines during “Book Learning” seems to throw The Mitchells into the alt-country genre, even if there does not seem to be quite the love for the genre as a Lucero. The disc may have been recorded three years ago (or abouts), but the music present is as vital and lively now as when it was recorded. The Mitchells are an act that will make it big here sometime soon, and whether it is on Deep Elm or Merge, time will only tell. The blend of alternative, indie, rock, and slight hints of punk on “Slow Gears” is something that does not seem to be innovative, but is truly challenging and different when it comes from the mind of The Mitchells. I hope the band comes out with a new album in a short while; give them a listen when you can.
Top Tracks: Book Learning, Welcome Back
The Mitchells – Slow Gears / 2007 Small Batch / 10 Tracks / http://www.themitchellsrock.com / http://www.pigeonrecords.com / Reviewed 24 May 2007