We want you to please consider for a moment just how long it takes you to decide on whether you like a band or not? Do you only need one song? Perhaps you only take a few bars of a song? Perhaps it’s just their look, with the way they dress or their overall aesthetic? Perhaps you go the opposite way and have to hear a whole album before concluding? Maybe you need to hear a song over and over repeatedly prior to making a final judgement?
It’s a tough thing to know what the right thing to do is, as it’s so subjective and down to the individual. Is there anything wrong with making your mind up rapidly? Perhaps you’re very knowledgeable about music and consider a million aspects of what you are hearing in a second, before deciding you love it a moment later? On the flip side, is there anything wrong with taking your time, choosing to properly take in a whole piece of work before you conclude?
Our guess is that people are quite instinctive about it and don’t take that long to decide. You don’t wait to digest your entire dinner before deciding if it tastes nice do you – staring down at the pan and finally announcing to yourself that it was in fact a particularly enjoyable meal. You make lots of decisions about the new people you meet pretty rapidly, don’t you? We’re not suggesting you’re some cruel, judgemental nutter or anything, but you can’t help but have first, second or even lasting impressions from spending a few minutes in the company of a stranger.
We all have subconscious tick lists that fire off at speed upon the first experience – it’s what makes us human. Admittedly those initial reactions can soften or harden, as you learn more, but on the whole you know whether you will like something from the outset. Anyone that says otherwise is perhaps fighting their natural inclination, which is also fair enough, but there’s no denying you had an initial reaction.
The reason we bring up this talking point is that you might make your mind up about Mitten quite quickly, but because their music has a variety of shades, we think you opinion will shift, depending on which track you hear first. We’re not suggesting that Maia Macdonald and Joanna Katcher’s creations wave from thrash metal to sugary pop, but they definitely produce songs with varying pace and punch. Even when you look at each song individually the start often doesn’t match the finish. However, we’re pleased to conclude – after we’d had time to digest the whole of their available catalogue – that we enjoyed almost every element of their music.
On the one hand the female duo from Brooklyn produce energetic, upbeat pop, that smoothly races along like water on marble. Take the tune Similar Senses, the fourth song on the six-track EP that arrived a couple of weeks ago, and you experience a song that starts with a skipping pace that holds throughout, only breaking on occasion and certainly not for long enough for you to get your breath back. It drives along, meeting up briefly for a kissed chorus, feeling like a peck on the cheek, rather than any lingering moment. It reminds us of A-Ha’s Take On Me – although fronted by Ladyhawke – but lacks those same killer pop riffs.
Your initial conclusions will be arrested when you get to the track Cavalcade or 742, which are far slower, aiming at your emotional buttons, rather than your feet, but it’s just as endearing. The pop is still there with their enjoyable vocals, but it’s more patient and intelligent, building in layers and diving into deeper ends of their musical pool. Solitary Moves also begins with the same pretty harmonics, showing them at their most sedimentary, but it eventually steps up, creeping into your head like a dream about Underworld’s Juanita.
The feet are undoubtedly in focus with the EP’s opener, All That I’ve Got, as it meets you with a slapping, electronic, crunch of a riff, that would have you thinking this is going to be a heavy piece of work, but it quickly opens up to a more ambrosial pop tune. It’s them at their best, marrying their ability to get you dancing, whilst still finding depths and beauty in the edges of the pop spectrum. It’s satisfyingly full and rounded, and whether you like to take your time before deciding on a band or not, this tune and it’s ability to have you humming it long after it’s finished will surely find you making a positive conclusion. (MB)
MITTEN – ALL THAT I’VE GOT
MITTEN – SIMILAR SENSES
MITTEN – CAVALCADE