Mixtape - A Short Collection of Short Songs
Release Date: November 30, 2010
Record Label: Animal Style Records
In my opinion there isn't much that's good about Ohio. I mean, you're kind of lame, Ohio. Your coolest cities are Cincinnati and Cleveland, and aside from seeing the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame I don't really feel the need to go to either of those places. Ohio State University probably has my least favorite sports teams, but at least they always let the Gators beat them in football and basketball national championship games. Worse for you, you and Indiana are kind of just those awkward states in between two way cooler states: Pennsylvania and Illinois. Those places have Philadelphia and Chicago, aka two places I would much rather be than Ohio.
Luckily for you, Ohio, Mixtapes lives inside of you. Heh. The four-piece, um, Ohio natives put out A Short Collection Of Short Songs in November, and never has there been a more descriptive name for an EP. There are seven songs that only come out to 16 minutes, but each of those tracks have a pop quirkiness mixed with a gritty punk-ish drive that makes them undeniably interesting. The dual vocals provided by Ryan Rockwell and Maura Weaver are definitely what this band hangs its hat on, backed up with instrumentation that ranges from dirty-sounding punk to warm acoustic guitars.
The opener "Birthday Party Summer Camp" shows Mixtapes at their best. There is a good mix of vocals from both singers and the sing-along gang vocals are a huge success. Mixtapes are at their best when they're going as fast as they can, like on "The Real Hotel California" and "I'm Like." But the band can still be appealing when they slow things down a bit, like with "Whit's End" and "Anna Maria." On the latter, Weaver shines brightest, as her softer vocals will reel listeners in and not let them get away. Closer "Your Little Hoodrat Friend" is the longest song on A Short Collection of Short Songs, but it's also the best track here. Although it's a cover of a Hold Steady song, Mixtapes really put their sound together to make for a good listen.
The EP as a whole is an enjoyable listen, but this band doesn't carry anything about it that makes me shiver with excitement. I think there is much room to improve on A Short Collection of Short Songs, and it's easy to say that if Mixtapes stay at it and keep progressing their sound and finding their own place to be, they'll have a bright future.