Earlimart : Mentor Tormentor

<img src="http://www.qromag.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/08/earlimartmentor.jpg" alt=" " />Slightly estranged yet deeply arranged, the third album from California's Earlimart is their most difficult and elaborate effort to date.  ...
Mentor Tormentor
7.6 Majordomo

Mentor Tormentor is the product of a prolonged struggle through the creative process, and its tranquilized strain reflects a more thematic approach than their previous releases.  Mid-tempo tracks driven by alt-pop drums, sighed vocals, and string arrangements dominate the album, making for a more sedated, but lush, sound. 

Mentor Tormentor further establishes Earlimart’s depressive sound through weary vocals and discouraged lyrics, but, this time, in more rounded and less streaky music.  The album’s opening track, "Fakey Fake", builds slowly on a simple acoustic riff then adds ominous vocals and pounding drums that create a dark atmosphere, but don’t rush into it or skip out on it.  Past Earlimart attempts might’ve cut the song off in half or left out the stark drums.  "Answers & Questions" is a full, dramatic track starting with a rolling acoustic strum that leads into Aaron Espinoza & Ariana Murray’s momentous harmony.  It’s washed by soaring strings to great effect.  And through the production, their vocals never lose their signature ache.  "Happy Alone" is a piano ballad sung by Murray that includes some heart-squeezing lines ("The shadows of doubt on how things turn out are typically gray/But even the stuck clock on your wall is right two times a day").  Their mood-setting is as strong as ever, enabled by their more thorough song development this time out.

For an interesting twist on an evolved pop sound, the album provides a downhearted contrast from its cheerier counterparts.  Enchanting melodies are the centerpieces of Mentor Tormentor, and if the vocals weren’t so morose, it might be confused for a modern pop album.  It’s a difficult dynamic created by people with difficult experiences, and has no shortage of honesty.  It’s a clever, hypnotic alternative to the happier, radio-friendly sound it resembles.

MP3 Stream: "Nevermind the Phonecalls"

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