Mock Orange deserve better than this. To little fanfare, the Indiana quartet has released the follow up to 2008’s brilliant ‘Captain Love’, an album that I wouldn’t hesitate to list among my absolute favorite records of the last five years. These guys should be featured on magazine covers and late-night talk shows, maybe even cereal boxes and action figures, but there has barely been a peep about their new album ‘Disguised as Ghosts’ in the music press, and that’s a shame.
Following a monster album like ‘Captain Love’ is no easy task, but in their near 20-years together Mock Orange has never been a band afraid to try something new. On ‘Disguised as Ghosts’ they continue with much the same sound they cultivated on the previous two efforts, but have expanded their palate in subtle ways. The rhythm section still churns with tornadic intensity, but Heath Metzger’s formidable drumming keeps primarily to the pocket, giving the precision guitars of Ryan Grisham and Joe Asher more room to duke it out. Standout track ‘Silent Motion’ features some delicious banjo picking, while the hyper ‘I Can Sing’ harnesses different time signatures and keyboard flourishes to bring the band to a rousing crescendo, finally settling into a herky-jerky ritalin funk groove. The album seems loses some steam in the second half, getting bogged down with a few too many acoustic-driven numbers for my taste.
Will this be Mock Orange’s ticket to mainstream success? Maybe not, but it’s another solid effort from one of indie-rock’s best kept secrets. Joseph Avary
Mock Orange – Silent Motion