Saturday, 15 March 2014

Album review: THE NEW MENDICANTS - Into The Lime

Highlights: Sarasota, Cruel Annette, Lifelike Hair


One fifth of Teenage Fanclub. One half of Jonny. One sixth of Slipknot. One of the above is not true. So says Norman Blake's twitter account. 

Good idea, and now he can also add 'one third of The New Mendicants'. Because this is another very sweet outing for Norman Blake. Last time it was the lovely and throwawayish Jonny (with Euros Childs of Gorky Zygotic Mynci) and this time it’s the equally lovely and equally throwawayish The New Mendicants (with two members of Pernice Brothers). I’m only reviewing it because this is the sort of derivative that is too damn good to turn down.

Fluffy 60’s flavoured songwriting rules the day. At first it’s just fluffy and unsubstantial and why would anyone even care, but then the cute, well-meaning melodies start shining through. The opening “Sarasota” is such a sweet little pop song, infectious and filled with irresistible starry-eyed optimism. “Cruel Annette” is a lost 60’s classic, something Honeybus or pre-‘64 Beatles could do so effortlessly. “Shouting Match” is good power-pop. Folksy ballad “By The Time It Gets Dark” is somewhat weightless, but the ‘heavy’ “Lifelike Hair” is a Nuggets-styled gem. 

Into The Lime is the sort of album that shouldn’t exist but it does so why not be happy about it. It’s lilting, tasteful and full of sweet delights. I don’t have much to say about Pernice Brothers (who are okay), but my point that Norman Blake is the best songwriter in Teenage Fanclub still stands. The New Mendicants must be a one-off thing, so all the more reason to spend a little time (or money?) here.      

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