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Mock Orange

Disguised As Ghosts

(Wednesday; US: 12 Apr 2011; UK: Import)

When you think of the term “indie rock”, chances are you’ll think of a band that sounds a lot like Mock Orange. The Evansville, Indiana band’s new record, Disguised as Ghosts, is a tuneful, energetic charge through 10 lean power-pop tunes. The band knows its recent musical history, tapping into the dreamy nature of acts like Galaxie 500 on jangling opener “Grow Your Own Soul” or the psych-pop of the Flaming Lips on “My Car”, and there are occasional motes of Americana dust that land atop the pop sheen of these tunes. The songs here are a more focused, concentrated dose of the sound the band gave us on 2008’s Captain Love, and the direct hooks here provide a much-needed lift. However, while the album sounds solid and the melodies sweet, there’s still a problem of Mock Orange distinguishing itself. If the band sounds like it could be “indie rock”, it’s because it doesn’t sound quite distinct enough yet. The players are starting to move away from their influences—the moody “Roll Your Eyes” and sunny “End of the World” are the band’s finest songs to date—but they still feel a bit like they’re trying to find their own voice on Disguised as Ghosts, so while it may sound sweet it’s not as memorable as it could be.

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Matthew Fiander is a music critic for PopMatters and Prefix Magazine. He also writes fiction and his work has appeared in The Yalobusha Review. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNC-Greensboro and currently teaches writing and literature at High Point University in High Point, NC. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattfiander.


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