Mellow Drunk

 

Never Sleep At Night intro / biog

 

“Mellow Drunk are a five piece currently taking San Francisco by storm. Led by Leigh Gregory on vocals and guitar the group also features ex-Spectrum, Smallstone and co-founding Brian Jonestown Massacre member Rick Maymi on guitar. The line-up is completed with Daniel Dietrick (ex-Your Precious You) on bass and vocals, Steven Cavorretto (Dora Flood) on keyboards, trumpet and vocals, and Patrick Harte (ex-The Rosemarys) on drums. The group have been compared to the likes of THE CHURCH, THE ONLY ONES, RAIN PARADE and THE BYRDS to name but a few whilst a recent live review in the San Francisco Weekly compared the track ‘Queen Of the Night’ to classic Bowie!

With the release of their debut album ‘Always Be Drunk’ in 2000, and the CDEP ‘Everybody Knows You’re a Star’, San Francisco’s Mellow Drunk have quickly established themselves as purveyors of finely arranged melodic pop tunes, as well as favourites on the West Coast club circuit. Supergrass, Luna & Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci have all had the band open for them when they’ve been in town. Not content to be only local heroes, there’s a loyal following gathering around the globe too, all hooked on the fragile beauty of the songs, their touch of melancholy that brings hope, their closeness.

Now, a few long nights later spent working up new arrangements and ideas into shape, the band are ready to return with their sophomore effort ‘Never Sleep at Night’.”

 

Mellow DrunkNever Sleep At Night

 

Ochre Records

 

Never Sleep At Night’ bursts out of the traps impressively, reminiscent of the Crystal Sets ‘She Spits Out Stars’ in parts. You could imagine them playing ‘One Day’ or Heyday era material with their sound here. At just over two minutes it’s a brisk positive introduction and doesn’t let up with ‘There For You’ kicking straight in showing rich guitar texturing and interesting accompaniment of Trumpet and Strings.

 

The Top’ is an interesting blend of soft and harsher textures, the gentle vocal and gentle mid tempo momentum is supplemented by a contrasting piercing guitar riff, that it works is an indicator to their wide scope.

 

Before and After Then’, further rich jangling guitar backed by subtle organ in the kind of tempo and style of ‘Maya’ until intensifying towards the end.

 

Shone On Everyone’ is musically more explorative featuring some sublime textures.

 

Queen Of the Night’ with piano and soaring lead guitar is different, like a kind of space rock ballad.

 

Definitely’ lifts the tempo, a more direct breezy feel-good track showing pop qualities without abandoning their distinctive ‘cared about’ guitar sound. Another track to benefit from warm bursts of Organ.

 

Very Strange Times’, opening stripped down before the drums and Organ kick in. A light 60’s pop-like song with harmonica and organ flavouring it.

 

On The Hill’ with prominent organ and looser playing, it would be interesting to see live.

 

Dead Sea Fruit’, finds a fine blend of enchanting sound and strong melodic direction, at a slower tempo the warmth of the sound draws you in.

 

A Different Colour On My Door’ sounds bright and direct right from the start, initially a light pop song it has a pleasingly extended denser mid section of soloing before ending on a return to the chorus and a lengthy sonic fade out. With the prominent organ melody over live sounding drums and warm bass and guitars and the charm of the vocal delivery it sounds close to the kind of stuff The Small Faces excelled at.

 

Mellow Drunk’ Vocals, gentle guitars, bass and cymbals create this dreamy warmly textured album closer flavoured with their gentle hypnotic sound. The extended instrumental play-out on the same relaxing plain brings the pulse rate right down, just as an album closer should.

 

Comparisons to The Church are pretty fair but awkward at the same time – after all which Church are we talking about? The Space Rockers, Paisley poppers, dark ‘Aura’ soundscapers or gothic rockers of ‘Séance’ or ‘Blurred Crusade’ style. The truth seems to be that they have a shared degree of The Church’s essence – the care and attention given to the guitar textures, blending prettiness and cutting riffs, soft vocals, hypnotic melodies, layered contrasting guitar parts, a timeless feel, an ability to jangle without it sounding superficial, shared philosophies, approaches and styles yet formulated differently meaning that rather than sound like out-takes from ‘Blurred Crusade’, ‘Heyday’ or ‘Séance’, they sound more like the lost Church albums in between, the ones that were never conceived. How can a band sound like a band who often don’t sound like themselves from one album to the next but instead use the existing factors to forge a new equation and version of the band as a reaction to the last one. So, in short, Mellow Drunk certainly seem to have a shared essence and if you like the Church you should like them and you’ll enjoy the process of discovery I’m sure.