The Mumlers

Don't Throw Me Away

Without any retro accoutrements, San Jose’s Mumlers draw upon
classic acoustic Americana (no Gram Parsons or Uncle Tupelo here,
sorry) for their cozy, out-of-time style. Superficially the Mumlers
(using banjo, horns, glockenspiel, ukulele, along with standard rock
instrumentation) resemble Tom Waits’ ramshackle, battered-fractured
approach, but there’s a lot more to their equation.

Echoes of the Band’s Music from Big Pink, Dylan’s
early gone-electric period, and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band can be heard
wafting through their songs, but the Mumlers aren’t overly obvious
about it. In fact, restraint is their strong suit, never going the
“aren’t we so clever ‘n’ quirky” or lo-fi-for-its-own-sake routes. They
don’t limit themselves — “Raise the Blinds,” with its N’awlins
chugging rhythm, has flickering passages for flute and horns recalling
Duke Ellington’s orchestral exotica. The nifty melodramatic
instrumental “Soot-Black Suit” sounds like a savvy Salvation Army Band
playing cool 1960s soundtrack music from Westerns (first half) and
James Bond movies (second half). Further, the Mumlers draw upon an
aspect of “Americana” sometimes overlooked, namely soul/rhythm &
blues. The swaggering, organ-driven “Coffin Factory” (evoking Eric
Burdon & the Animals) and the plaintive title tune are rich with
sultry Southern soul (Al Green, Eddie Floyd), Will Sprott’s
understated, slightly rough-hewn vocals conveying a genuine sense of
weary, aching desire.

Don’t Throw Me Away is accomplished without being slick,
chilled-out without being lethargic. Two thumbs up. (Galaxia)


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