Album Review – Once Home, No Longer by Mt.Misery (2021) (Prefect Records)
Sometime in the 80s, before I had really cemented my relationship with beer, cigarettes and fast food, I used to play football reasonably well. One Bank Holiday we travelled far up North to Hartlepool (Mt.Misery‘s home town) to play a game. Ultimately it was cancelled because of the springtime sleet and snow. We then spent the rest of the day drinking with locals dressed in shorts and T-shirts, who were clearly not phased by the inclement weather…they make ’em tough up there.
As such it feels a tad obtuse for this bunch of ‘hardened northerners’ to be toying with all that is fine, melodic and jangly about 60s west coast-pop and early 90s indie-pop, especially when the union of these aesthetics into an absolute thing of sunshine-pop beauty.
The best of the album has an undeniable Belle and Sebastian core, with Tell Me (What’s On Your Mind), Lonely Pines and I Was Wrong juxtapositing similar vocal simplicity and uncluttered production to the jangliest, most laconic end of Teenage Fanclub beauty.
If such tracks are steeped in the most melodic end of the 90s, The Dreaming Days Are Over, In The Blink Of An Eye and Satelite, lead a group of tracks that make no attempt to disguise an absolute allegiance with all that was stunning about the 60s west coast-pop scene, as all manner of jangled and chiming riffs vie for attention among all the lucid pretty.
Mt.Misery may not be the sort of act that is going to appeal to those who prefer their jangle to be served with an edge and/or left field propensities. However, for those of us who are not adverse to being engulfed by the melodic ebullience of sunshine-pop, this album could well accompany us on many an hour of total relaxation.