Mark Erelli – Mixtape
-out Jan. 26
4 / 5
MA-based folkie Mark Erelli first came to our attention with his 2008 album of political discontent Delivered. It is, in short, a brilliant and beautiful album, and we’ve been following Erelli since. Mixtape is his new covers album pulled from thirteen years of performances at Cambridge, MA’s Club Passim spanning songs from The Grateful Dead to Neko Case and Arcade Fire. While we don’t often review covers albums, Mixtape is a welcome reprieve from our usual modus operandi. It’s nice to mix(tape) things up once in a while.
Despite going from pop (“The Boys of Summer“) to a crooner (“Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)”” and most everything between, the feel of the album is consistent throughout, a little down-tempo, a little dark instrumentation, and very vocal-centric. While we lament a lack of Erelli’s oftentimes brilliant originals on, well, a covers album, we’ve come to appreciate his arrangements, and moreover, his dynamic and emotive vocals, with “Don’t Give Up On Me” being a shining example of that. Yes, that down-tempo “The Boys of Summer” is a highlight on here, as well as “My Body Is a Cage,” which rocks and pulls out the stops. The second single and the track that got us most excited, Neko Case’s “Deep Red Bells,” is actually its weakest, but it’s a hard sell to upstage one of indie’s best power-vocals (and Erelli certainly doesn’t here). Overall, it’s a fun and enjoyable collection, but we still have to plug his gorgeous Delivered as a great place to start in Erelli’s discography.
Mixtape is a solid release of covers from a brilliant and criminally unknown folk artist who deserves your attention. Recommended.
Check out Mark Erelli’s website for more tracks.