Mock Orange

Captain Love

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    5
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Some bands try, because they mean well. And some in doing so establish fanbases, release albums, please people. That's all that needs to be done in the end, really -- else, why record in the first place? Yet Mock Orange, quietly chugging away for some years by the time of the release of Captain Love in 2008, achieved on that album the kind of blend of reasonable accomplishment and utterly generic results that will make listeners not otherwise committed to them to sigh and wonder what the point of indie rock, as widely understood, was in the end. Obvious, beholden to any number of over-referenced influences from Big Star and the power pop generation to the arch theatrics of groups like the Decemberists and back again, Captain Love exists and does little more than be so aggressively pleasant and eager to please that one wishes for just a smidgen of musical anger and spite, somewhere. There are moments here and there -- a sense of groove on "World of Machines," some polite shoegaze cascade in "Majestic Raincoat" -- but otherwise, mannered performances and songs just are, again and over again. No question this'll make someone happy somewhere, but that's not reason enough to give it anything more than a passing nod.

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