The word “mosaics” has been trendy in music lately. Earlier this year, Throwing Snow released their album Mosaic and Circulatory System issued Mosaics Within Mosaics. So it was about time that a group – this one from San Francisco – came along calling themselves Mosaics. What do they sound like? Well, if the Pet Shop Boys ever decided to do an MTV Unplugged set, you’d be pretty close to the mark. Mosaics combine acoustic guitar strums with keyboard electronics and sometimes Auto-Tuned vocals. They are reportedly getting popular on their home turf, and that may have to do with the fact that they’re riding on the coattails of Alt-J a bit. Still, Of Colors feels original, and there’s a distinct freshness to their sound. Despite all of that, the languid tempos and weird feel of the music may leave some listeners cold, so this is definitely something to file under “Acquired Taste” territory.
Despite that, the disc is noteworthy in that one can easily lay back and enjoy the cool vibes of the music. The album starts off with “Mosaic”, which is as close to a theme song as it comes, with all sorts of percussive effects and sound effects leading things off. “Recursive” begins with vocal loops before a vintage ‘80s keyboard line enters, followed by an acoustic guitar that sounds like its player is thrashing the instrument. “GLAM” is another slice of electro-folk, making it seem a bit close to “Recursive” in feel. That, in itself, is a slight failing of the album: many of the tracks simply sound like retreads. However, it does create a sensation of an album that works as an album. All in all, if you’re looking for something new and dare I say a little dubsteppy coming from an American source, Mosaics will certainly satisfy. For those looking for something beyond repeated ideas found within the same record, however, may want to hold off until the next James Blake album comes along.