Album review

Mavis : vs The Mendonca
Toddler Records

Mavis : vs The MendoncaWhen you think of the name 'Mavis', images of old women and dreary chintz, lazy Sunday afternoon jazz and stale cigarette smoke come to mind, or maybe that's just me! Surprisingly Mavis' music has a fresh approach, albeit with a tone slightly reminiscent of The Llama Farmers with their upbeat melodic songs, overwrought guitars and James McMahon's prudent vocals.
    Mavis vs The Mendonca has a great sleazy feel, a sexy lo-fi swagger, the brilliant Be Brave and the sentimental She Taught Me Everything; both featuring the co-vocals of Marie Nauhauser, the latter with the beautifully delivered pre-chorus line "and you look pretty to me." Quite often when bands have two singers contributing the results can be claustrophobic, but Nauhauser's contribution lends vs The Mendonca a resonance that's otherwise missing.
    However, despite these tender moments, there are pitfalls where it all seems too hasty; the guitars outpace and drown out the vocals on Ba Ba Ba (Don't Leave Me) and there's too much going on in Rebound; McMahon's vocals bewildered in the chaos of guitars and drums.

vs The Mendonca is a subtle reminder of music in its purest form, and despite occasional weaknesses, their energy bursts at the seams. If this album had eyes, they would be wide and inquisitive, soaking everything in and wanting to see more. Mavis' vibrant and youthful outlook gives the impression that they're a small band about to swim in a big, big world . . . only time will tell if they'll be consumed by the predators.

:: Paul Newbold

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