New Mendicants ready to take the limelight
Following the release of the Australia EP in the summer of 2013, The New Mendicants of Toronto, the trio of Joe Pernice, Norman Blake and Mike Belitsky, delivered their debut LP Into the Lime Jan. 28 on Ashmont Records. The album will also be available on vinyl in North America on the band’s own XPT Records.
The album opens with “Sarasota,” a song written about the movie Midnight Cowboy. It is a haunting tribute to a geographical area colloquially referred to as “The Redneck Riviera.” The stomp-clap beat, and wavering vocals paint a picture of calm, but uncertainty, of waves on the beach. The refrain begins “It’s free, it’s free” and that is indeed the feeling one gets listening to the song. The softness carries you into the album and away from the world.
The next song on the album “A Very Sorry Christmas” is the perfect tale of holiday redemption. It is the story of a man begging for forgiveness on the day when all hearts are allegedly open to such fancies. The vocals wonder “on a very sorry Christmas eve, I wonder if the ghosts will let me be,” and the listener can’t help but feel for the protagonist. It is a Hollies-esque tribute redemption.
The Mendicants are hard to place, at once sounding classic and entirely different.
“Cruel Annete” is a song that exemplifies this. Starting with a harmonized acapella, and breaking into a light guitar riff, you’re treated to a story of un-requited love. You can picture kids listening to this in a period movie about the 1950’s, but this song was just released this year. It is familiar, but new.
And essentially, that’s what the band is. They have decades of experience between them, but their sound is altogether refreshing.
Each song on this album is its own work of art, but some stand out more than others, depending on who’s listening.
This is a band that you shouldn’t miss. In the song “Follow You Down”, the lyrics say that “I can’t say what we’ll find, when we step off together”, but this is a band that leaves you anxious to see where those steps lead.