|Mashlin - Pushing Through the Seasons|
Release Date: May 10, 2005
Record Label: 111 Records
Though 111 Records’ Mashlin features ex-members of Agent Felix and Unsung Zeros, both of which were relatively average pop-punk bands, Mashlin is decidedly different: the laid back tempos, mellow vocals, and lightly distorted, washy guitars on Pushing Through the Seasons, Mashlin’s debut album, eschew any sort of up-tempo, power chord mediocrity that the members’ previous bands may have exhibited. The change is welcome—I must admit that I wasn’t really a fan of either Agent Felix or Unsung Zeros, but that I have definitely enjoyed listening to Pushing Through the Seasons. It’s not a CD you get pumped up to, nor is it an album that will grab you by the throat and take you on an emotional rollercoaster (or some crazy “review” phrase like that), but it’s certainly a pleasant listen, especially for those lazy fall afternoons and drives we’ll be encountering soon enough.
Playing a brand of emo-influenced indie pop rock (I know descriptions like that are sort of boring, but in this case, it’s extremely accurate) much in the vein of Days Away, with very slight hints of Mae, Saves the Day, and some Brit-pop thrown in, Mashlin treads pretty safe territory, never really pushing any boundaries, either in terms of songwriting or dynamics. The music is often bland and uneventful because of those last two points—it lacks energy at times, and while I won’t say it lacks passion, I feel that there’s something missing that would make it an album you could really connect with. Who knows though, maybe you’d be able to connect with it. I’m just a nerd on a computer telling you about my personal experience with the CD. Listen to it for yourself if you like the type of music I’ve described it as, and perhaps you’ll really love the album. Nevertheless, as I’ve stated before, listening to Pushing Through the Seasons is enjoyable, just not stimulating. I’d mention some standout tracks, but there aren’t really any—each song is pretty much as solid as the next, and they’re all extremely similar, save for the piano based “66 Books of Cleansing” and the semi-jazzy interlude “An Evening Underwater With Alex Cross.”
While there’s nothing “wrong” with Pushing Through the Seasons, meaning that everything is tastefully written, I sometimes wish that the songs were catchier. I don’t necessarily mean that in a New Found Glory sort of way, but I just wish that the songwriting held my attention a little better and that the melodies were a bit more interesting. Mashlin will appeal to fans of Days Away, for sure, so if you like Mapping an Invisible World, I suggest that you check out Pushing Through the Seasons (interestingly enough, both CDs were released on the same day). I’m glad I got a chance to hear this album: I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on these guys, and I’d love to see how the music comes across in the live show.