Torn between the existence of the future, loss of the past, and racing thoughts, “Mammals in Love and Ambivalence,” strips down blessings and tribulations into bare elements for the return of The Violet Mindfield. Inland Empire’s progressive psych-rock trio, John Duran (vocals, guitar), Sean McBreen (bass), and Charlie Morales (drums), pick up where they left off and deliver a collection of tracks that illustrate a versatile and exposed story.
While the 6-track EP doesn’t stray far away from their psychedelic base, “Mammals in Love and Ambivalence” create a clear mindset of the talent of the band, without dipping into a gimmicky sound, but of a brave exposure. The EP’s fitting title places a listener in a state of acceptance to life’s confusion, while the artwork humbly displays their presence. Strewed between the scribbles of words, the minimalist honesty and design validates the bareness of the band’s confident reintroduction. The EP will detest as a defining album that will expand their range, not for taking their sound “up,” but for taking down a wall.
Beginning with a familiar track, “Colt 45,” the personal relationship on the album between VMF and listeners is set and welcomed- from being a track that was only available live, to now part of a collection. The track’s very mellow and heart warming melodies drown the realistic lyrics and show vulnerability within Duran’s vocals, and highlights McBreen’s bass riffs. Flowing through a consistent momentum, the EP unravels with “Have You Heard?” and “She Don’t Lie,” while “Shadow” hums a little darker.
Musically, “Attachment” epitomizes the overall sound. It’s use of style, layering of vocals, and intricate drum fills, displayed by Morales, captures the weight of the track. Followed by crunchy guitars, and a growth in sound, “Attachment” is admired for it’s construction and potency. Ending the intimacy on the EP with another “live only” track, now accessible, “Heart of The Matter” falls on the other side of the spectrum of the band’s versatile range, displaying loud, raw emotion, and a lasting substance within the lyrics: “I’m not what you’re used to / but I’m real.”
The Violet Mindfield falls into the category of magic, where sound and emotion are everlasting. A band who has so much power to transform your mindset and relive fresh emotions, are more than musicians, but are artists.
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