Working alone in his bedroom on low-rent gear, Jonathan Bates found his sound on two preliminary EPs before creating A Demonstration of Intellectual Property. These six songs cover more ground than many other artists manage on a full CD, beginning with a disarming, lullaby-like instrumental, "Tinylittle." The songs that follow roll by like a storm front of massed guitar dissonances, ominous electronic noises, and voices that float above the turbulence, all the more painful because of their detachment. None of this comes at the expense of tunefulness: A highly developed structure illuminates these shadows, visible in the brilliantly dissonant hook and clustered chords of "No More Options" and in the elegant detailing of the drum track on "Beautiful Day." Fatalism and humor guide the lyrics, with some especially pungent irony on the dirge "And Repeat," but on "Bitelip" these qualities intensify into a self-referential kaddish that builds from mumbling monologue to wordless, harmonized moans over an apocalyptic backbeat. In little more than a quarter of an hour, Mellowdrone's music leaves the listener breathless and alert, as if in fear of sinking back into sleep, yet tempted as well by dreams of beauty and terror.
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AllMusic Review by Robert L. Doerschuk