Album Review: The Mole People – Lost Age (Pop Press Pick)

AlbumCoverV4The Mole People’s Lost Age has undeniably classic appeal—think early David Bowie or Blondie fronted by a charismatic and unhinged dude rather than Debbie Harry. Or if you want a (fittingly) less common point of reference, try seminal power pop band The Only Ones. Lost Age was recorded to tape and mastered to vinyl in a completely analog process. The album was released this week via Punctum Records. Of course, if you buy a digital copy, you’re getting files that have been digitally mastered, but if you’re holding a copy on vinyl, you’re touching a document rare in 2014, an artifact from, well, a lost age. A commitment to incredible sonic textures and powerful psych pop music makes Lost Age a minor masterpiece.

Most of the tracks capitalize on distorted chords and hooky melodies with layered guitar parts and up-tempo, snare-centric drum patterns. Utilizing all five members—keys, secondary acoustic and electric guitars, and feedback fill out the complex arrangements. Songs like opener “Why Don’t You Call My Name” and closer “Searching the Streets” are the band’s calling card, edgy enough to not be sugary, but catchy enough to lodge right in your brain. They’ve tapped into something essential—the tried and true elements of rock ‘n’ roll—finding themselves in league with bands like Big Star and The Replacements, with a touch of their own psychedelic flair.

However, the band is all but a one-trick wonder. The Mole People aren’t afraid to incorporate a good amount of minor-key rockers, such as the gritty melodies of “I’m Running Dry.” They also delve into dissonant, noisy chaos on “Don’t Mean So Much To Me” and show their psychedelic side on tracks like “(Memo From) Lightnin’.” The ghostly atmospherics, the descending melody, and surprising changes of “Exploding” make the track a mid-album hidden gem. Even, the most dissimilar track on the album, “Coming Back to Life,” triumphs. The track channels Galaxie 500 with ethereal production, plodding drum grooves, and churning lyricism—“Ohhh, I feel like I’m coming back to life again.” The song is the longest in the 11-song collection and an absolute treat.

Lost Age will melt your face and encourage you to dance your ass off, but listeners will also find themselves lost in its masterfully lush songwriting and rich production. The Mole People have bridged the gap between irresistibly fun and musically accomplished to create a record that deserves to be on every turntable. You have a chance to pick one up in person by attending the band’s album release show this Saturday at Spiderhouse. Highly recommended.

About author
Bryan Parker is a writer and photographer living and working in Austin, TX. He is the founder of blog Pop Press International and print journal True Sincerity and recently released his first book, a volume on Beat Happening in the 33 1/3 series.

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