Mock Orange - First EP (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Mock Orange

First EP (2002)

Dead Droid

Mock Orange seems stuck in a permanent identity crisis. Their first album, "Nines and Sixes," has an almost-Lagwagon feel to it. Their sophomore effort, "The Record Play," [reviewed here] seemed to owe more to bands like Braid and American Football than anything on Fat Wreck. Now, after a label change, the band brings us their latest EP, aptly entitled "First EP." Why do I believe the title is so accurate? Well, it's because once again the group has seemed to give their sound a complete overhaul, almost to the point where they sound like a completely new band. If I had to name some influences on this record, my mind would immediately run to bands like Modest Mouse, Pavement, and Death Cab For Cutie, as opposed to their harder influences of the past.

Gone are the crazy time changes and frantic guitar riffing. In their places are more straightforward pop songs coupled with slide guitar. Main singer Ryan's vocals have taken a drastic turn, as well. I still can't decide if it's for better or worse. On past recordings he seemed to be spitting out his vocals with intensity and vigor, whereas now his voice seems to take a more relaxed approach, playfully integrating his falsetto with the spacious guitar parts.

Like I said before, this EP makes the band sound like a completely different entity - keeping up with their string of identity reassignments. Standing on it's own two feet, this EP can hold it's own and is actually pretty original-sounding in today's music scene. If this is the new direction of Mock Orange, I can't wait to hear their upcoming full length.

Of course, I wouldn't be surprised if the next album sounds like a polka band.

Crash And Die