New EP Breaks Out of the Pack
Tooling any band to its strengths can be hit and miss, but to Grammy award-winning producer John Seymour, it’s something of far greater certainty. Perhaps that’s because he knows well enough to lay odds on the quality of a well-crafted song rather than on the quantity of heavy handed embellishment. It’s a bet that pays off in the new EP from Philadelphia’s own Mongrel Mix – a talented four-piece group veering into fresh power-pop territory for the first time.
Right from the gate, Mongrel Mix leans into the propulsive beat of Images of a Saint, an opener that has the band take on a more sophisticated song structure in garage band overalls. Guitarist and lead vocalist Barry Preston heads the procession through crashing accents, driving crescendos and signature hooks that will keep the savvy happy. Similarly, the plaintive, yet affecting ballad Between Me and You is sung/spoken in an endearing and entirely satisfying way. It’s about truthful reflection in life and love, finding trust and honesty, or at least a way to get there.
Any question that the band is a sentimental pushover, however, is quickly dashed by the emotional release and instrumental power of Afraid of Losing You – a stirring, first-person confessional, augmented by muted chords and wah-wah accents that deliver well measured stabs of rock amidst the remembrances.
Last But Far From Least
The EP’s crowning achievement, be it arguably, is Hope Walking Away, a ‘60s style churner that recalls Roy Orbison in scope and depth, while retaining an immediacy that makes it equally relevant for today’s music fans. No “crying” allowed this time around.
Mongrel Mix is rounded out by Ted Pileggi on bass guitar, the versatile Greg Jones on drums, and Ed Wagner on keyboard, organs and computer samples. The EP was recorded at Fulcrum Audio, a full-service studio located just outside of Philadelphia.