Spoon and Rafter
Is there such a thing as classic emo? The “e” word may even be too harsh for Mojave 3, but they certainly explore this possibility on Spoon and Rafter. They begin the 50-minute journey with a ballsy nine and one-half minute song. This is bold because, at first glance, one might think this is mundane and complacent. It recalls the spirit of early Crosby, Stills and Nash, along with a hint of Fleetwood Mac. This is most observed in the use of tambourines and xylophones, which are perfectly sprinkled throughout the album. While this is playing, the careful listener may notice something; there are little to no electric instruments used on this record. When the band does occasionally find it necessary, a carefully placed organ is added.
The clearest aspect of Spoon and Rafter is how incredibly simple this album is. What is remarkable is how a band could produce these wistful, evocative songs for four consecutive albums, but have yet to take hold of a mainstream audience. This is not to say that Mojave 3 has a sound that could be nailed down. In “Battle of the Broken Hearts,” they create something that sounds like reggae, with a three part vocal harmony and a crazy, over the top synthesizer. This song is reminiscent of the 60s, aside from the fact that it’s totally schizophrenic. Even within one song, they will do their best to change tempos and chord progressions three or four times. Occasionally, it may appear that the song has changed, when in fact the pace has just been cut in half.
Sometimes it seems fair to question the musical talent and general knowledge of this band, but Mojave 3 quickly redeem themselves, showing that their musical talent permeates all of the tracks on this album. Spoon and Rafter could definitely be referred to as “chill music.” Most of it is very low energy, though not particularly sad. “Hard to Miss You,” clocking in at just under three minutes, is the album’s shortest track. This song isn’t defiantly against love, but rather is for self-understanding and perhaps an overall mature love. Mature is a good word to describe this album. Once the general public gets to this level, Mojave 3 will be there waiting.