The New Mendicants formed when Norman Blake of Teenage Fan Club moved to Canada for love and happened to end up living in close proximity, in Toronto, to Tom Pernice (The Pernice Brothers). Inevitably musicians from two renowned bands were always going to make music together and the result is their album “Into The Lime” which follows on from an EP called “Australia” released last year.
So how did this new musical marriage fare?
The album begins with “Sarosota” wafting in on rather wordy lyrics and a fairly plain melody but with some sumptuous harmonies and is a pleasant enough opener.
It’s followed by “A Very Sorry Christmas” replete with standard jangly guitars and downbeat lyrics (“I hurt so many people on the way – some are dead and some they really hate me”).
"Cruel Annette" opens with more cracking harmonies – the band even dispensing with music for the introduction before lapsing into more formulaic jangly guitar indie-pop.
“Follow You Down” a gentle ballad that breaks away from the more standard indie template followed by the band thus far and marks the start of a mid-album upturn after what can only be described as a muted start.
“Shouting Match” follows and whilst it has the requisite downcast lyrics about an argument, it fairly bounces along and has a couple of lovely guitar motifs (oh and don’t forget more lovely harmonies) but you have to ask if a band as clearly accomplished as this one, needs the stick clicks to keep time during a couple of breaks?
“If Only You Knew Her” drifts along harmlessly enough but in the sort of haze that means you kind of don’t miss it when it’s gone but “High On The Skyline” is propelled along by acoustic guitars (not forgetting some more jangly ones as well) and is one of the more memorable songs here.
Next up a cover of Sandy Denny’s “By The Time It Gets Dark” which passes you by without really standing out. Following this is the title track of sorts “Out Of The Lime”, floating in from the 60s as a sort of cross between The Hollies and The Byrds. Reasonable enough and yet more harmonies – which are the stand-out feature of this album.
The album closes with “Lifelike Hair” complete with random keyboard line and droning vocal melody. It is possibly the best song on offer here – a tantalising glimpse of what could have been.
This album has some well crafted tracks but it's just not memorable enough to stick in your brain and keep you whistling the tunes all day – despite the omnipresence of the fine vocal harmonies. I'm not sure that the production helps that much, the music sounds a bit flat and lifeless. It's all pleasant enough and I can’t see anyone really being offended by it but there’s nothing that really moves you.
Kind of the aural equivalent of Penelope Keith.