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Album Review
Coriander and  Heaven

Coriander and Heaven
by Mild America

Mole Music

Review Date
7th April 2010
Reviewed by
Gareth Meade

In a recent interview with Under The Radar, Mild America’s Mark Brenndorfer (formerly of This Night Creeps) said that he wanted his sound to be a mix of the “nostalgic” and “celebratory” or, as he puts, it; “a little bit bitter and a little bit hopeful”. With his debut EP Coriander & Heaven, Brenndorfer has done just that, as each instrument (including his vocals) takes its place on either side of the fence. Optimistic drums toil with heavy handed slide guitar while the backup harmonies (courtesy of Brenndorfer’s mother) add a dash of sorrow to the otherwise sanguine melodies.

The clip-clop from the drumsticks hitting the rim of the snare on opening track Rosemary & Love act as some kind of teleportation device that sets up the atmosphere of the album; kind of a hoedown-less infusion of country and folk with just a hint of more contemporary elements. New Prospects, 1896 spends half its life as an acoustic guitar shuffle before a loud and reverb drenched guitar takes the song out of its comfort zone and away from the campfire sing-along it began as. It’s an effect that you start to notice across most of the songs, as both Our Great River and the title track finish in much the same way. There’s a sense of each song building itself up to a grand and natural conclusion. It does add an element of repetition to the material, but not to the extent that it sounds like the same ideas are being rehashed.

The Lighthouse, the final song on the five track EP, sees the duo singing in whispered tones over a delicately plucked guitar before its midway crescendo, and finally draws to a close amid soft notes and quiet static. Over its 20 minutes the EP feels like it has transported you down a stream, with the odd quickening in current and minor rapid surprising you along the way. Coriander & Heaven is a great debut release that belies its original recording date of three years ago. Hopefully it won’t take that long for any follow up to appear.

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