Written by Matt DeBenedetti
During my first listen to Those Mockingbirds’ newest work, Penny the Dreadful, their sound had an immediate comparability to bands like The Parlor Mob, Cage the Elephant and AFI and this immediately drew me in. Yet, as I continued to listen, there was something about them that was so unique and so unlike any of these bands…or any other band for that matter.
While album is definitely one cohesive piece of work, the band displays a great array of styles throughout, which is why it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where their influences come from, and while sometimes this isn’t a good thing, they to use it to their advantage. Those Mockingbirds is clearly a rock band in the broadest sense of the term, but they also manage to set themselves apart by avoiding being labeled and lumped into one specific genre, which is a great tactic.
The first thing you notice on Penny the Dreadful is that the instrumentation is pretty much flawless throughout the entire record. Second, vocalist Adam Bird has a great voice and for me, that is make-or-break. And on top of that, the guitar melodies of Jonathan Gianino tie in nicely with the vocals leaving just enough space for the listener to not be overwhelmed. The rhythm section of Kevin Walters and Rob Fitzgerald holds the songs down nicely and the violin, piano and vocals of Tory Daines is the cherry to the top that brings the whole band together. There is something about a female vocal in this type of hard-rocking music.
There are a few tracks that really stuck out. The opening track, “Teenage Fantasies,” kicks off with a very hooky guitar lead and sports a very catchy and singable chorus and melody. The way the whole band doesn’t hesitate to cut out to leave only the vocal standing alone, and then suddenly rush back in and pick the track up where it left off also reminds me of American Idiot-era Green Day.
The third track, “A Ballad from Hell, is my personal favorite. For some reason, I could vividly imagine this song scoring a scene from The Walking Dead, or The Devil’s Rejects with its creepy (in an awesome way), bluesy, almost Western twist to it. The use of the slide guitar the beautifully sets the mood of the song.
Overall, Penny the Dreadful is a great album. It took a few spins to grow on me, but most good albums do that.
Matt DeBenedetti is a contributor to Pop-Break.com as well as the curator of TwoCentsMusic – a blog that covers the local Jersey scene.