Mock Orange

Mock Orange

Mock Orange

Mind Is Not Brain

Silverthree Sound

Hailing from Evansville, Indiana, Mock Orange seem to have capitalized on their central geographic location by assimilating and expanding on the music of bands from both American coasts and every place in between. On Mind Is Not Brain, the four-piece’s third album (and their first since “redefining” their sound with producer J. Robbins on 2002’s First EP), there are hints of Modest Mouse, Dinosaur, Jr., Sunny Day Real Estate, Superchunk, Afghan Whigs and Braid; but the resulting sound is a distinctive one, and proof that Mock Orange have something of their own to contribute instead of simply taking part in the all-too-common recycling exercise.

One of the most prominent characteristics of Mind Is Not Brain is the use of Eastern-sounding melodies amid the surge and retreat of the guitars and the whine of feedback. “Make Friends,” “Old Man,” “My God” and the opener “Payroll” all incorporate this exoticism to some extent as a means of maximizing the familiar post-punk/emo song structure that shaped (and in some cases restricted) much of the band’s previous output. Of these, “Payroll” is the album standout because of its continual shifts of force and style and texture.

Toward the second half of the disc, beginning with “Hawks Can Go” (on which J. Robbins plays piano), the songwriting tends to rely on more conventional methods, abandoning any unusual influence for straightforward — if occasionally too repetitive — guitar lines and a comfortable format with little of the rhythmic or harmonic surprises of “Payroll” and the title track. The album closer, “This Nation,” does reprise the band’s more sophisticated technique and wraps things up in appropriate fashion, with vocalist and guitarist Ryan Grisham encouraging the imagination-less citizens to “get outside at night/get all excited/put up a fight,” atop rolling vibes and start-stop guitar.

Mind Is Not Brain is an accomplished, inspired album from start to finish, and a real milestone in Mock Orange’s career. Four long developmental years passed between the release of The Record Play on the Lobster label and this disc, which surfaced in August of last year. All one can hope for now is that it doesn’t take the same length of time to see the follow-up.

Silver Three: www.silverthree.com • Mock Orange: www.mockorange.net

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Too Much and Never Enough
    Too Much and Never Enough

    One families indifference and abandonment gave America its greatest failure. Mary Trump explains how.

  • Summerland
    Summerland

    In rural England, a cranky woman bonds with and evacuee boy and uncovers a strange connection to her past.

  • Laurel & Hardy: The Definitive Restorations
    Laurel & Hardy: The Definitive Restorations

    These geniuses of early comedy finally get the presentation they are due in this Blu-ray edition.

  • Four-Letter Words
    Four-Letter Words

    No need to worry about offending delicate sensibilities with this playlist. We’re not talking about profanity, so just take the title at face value.

  • A Genesis In My Bed
    A Genesis In My Bed

    Former Genesis guitarist, Steve Hackett shares his life story in his story in an engaging and honest memoir. Reading his story feels like hanging out with a friend who’s interested in sharing how he felt living these experiences.

  • The Jayhawks
    The Jayhawks

    XOXO (Sham/Thirty Tigers). Review by Jeremy Glazier.

  • 18 to Party
    18 to Party

    When you’re in 8th grade, sneaking into a bar is way cooler than it is when you’re 40.

  • Adam
    Adam

    A pregnant woman finds a home in Casablanca.

  • 2020 on Fire
    2020 on Fire

    Sound Salvation takes on current events with a playlist addressing the current fight for racial and social justice in America and the battles playing out in the streets in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd.

  • Pokey Lafarge
    Pokey Lafarge

    Rock Bottom Rhapsody (New West Records). Review by Jeremy Glazier.

From the Archives