Mystery Date fit that classic mod-power pop sound, with an ear for well-tuned guitars, a hint of fuzz, and more focus on melody than “lead” anything, be it lead vocals, lead guitar, whatever. Love Collector is their first (recorded) album, first issued digitally in 2014 and now out on LP via Collision Course (late 2016). They released New Noir previously on Pinata Records.
This is a nine-song long-player with a consistent sound across the whole. Two bonus digital tracks round things out with “Dreaming in Black and White” and “Endless Nights,” both of which I name in part because the titles reflect the band’s emphasis on classic imagery and phrases that paint a specific mood across the whole record.
Love Collector is really accessible and clean in sound and structure, mostly of the verse/chorus/verse variety but the songs have hidden nuggets from the whirly guitar feedback of “Lightspeed Romance” to the chugging moments within “Say Without Talking.” At the LP’s end, “Radio Silence” jumps out by varying the tempo and with some soaring harmonies that earworm and make it a natural album closer. At other times, the rhythm takes a staccato turn that builds to a more emotional refrain.
Overall the vocals from Johnny Eggerman get a little mush mouth and blur together. It’s well suited to the “all for one” vibe, but it makes the songs run together a little over the album’s full course. A little more mixed pitch or additional back-up vocals instead of investing so heavily in the harmonies might give a little more flavor over the 30-minute spin.
That minor note about the record’s homogeny aside, Love Collector is enjoyable mod that wears its influence on its sleeve but with enough subtlety that it doesn’t feel like something coming off the used rack, either. Rather than taking rock ‘n’ roll to crazy and disastrous new places, Mystery Date is content to refine why garage and basement bands will always rule the day.
7.8 / 10
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