If you're into quality song-writing and love being lulled into a false sense of...
Nick Unwin 2002
Lost in Revelry, The Mendoza Lines' fourth album, is a rich multi-textured corker of a record, full of rare beauty and wit. What's more it marvellously confounds the pigeonhole brigade by shifting effortlessly between sweet lonesome country and quirky 90s alt mellowness. There is a wonderful mix of country roots and the mid-1990s indie world of Belly and The Breeders.
Formed in 1996 in Athens, Georgia - alsoREM's hometown- the band members appear to share a love of classic songwriters such as Bob Dylan and Elvis Costello. The former is a blatant influence in the opening track, the swaggering "A Damn Good Disguise" and later in the meandering "The Queen Of England".
This country/indie vibe - an odd mix at the best of times - flows seamlessly together throughout the record and is a testament to the song-writing ability and musicianship of McArdle, Bracy, Hoffman et al. This is encapsulated superbly in the manic duet on "Mistakes Were Made" sung by the gravely Hoffman and the sugar-sweet McArdle.
Indeed McArdle seems equally at home in either style. In the desperate "I'm That" McArdle even manages to incorporate an almost Twin Peaks-esque dreamy melancholy and finishes with mournful beauty on the closing track "The Way Of The Weak".
Indeed, McArdle's saccharine voice, aligned with a liberal sprinkling of slide guitars, serve almost to mask the albums deep malevolence, maybe reflecting the band's recent move to the mean streets of Brooklyn. Most songs cover a dazzling array of seriously messed-up human relationships and a variety of lost and lonesome souls. The darkly witty, casually caustic wordplay of the album is illustrated during "It'll Be The Same Without You" where the rhythm almost lulls the listener into missing the deeply cutting lyrics: "Rest assured someone will quickly take your place and it will be the same without you".
Despite so many familiar touches, Lost In Revelry oozes originality. If you're into quality song-writing and love being lulled into a false sense of security then you'd do well to add this album to your Xmas list.