If you’re a regular follower of this site or of local Sydney bands, The Jim Mitchells will not be strangers to you. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, you should know that they have returned slicker and groovier than ever before.
After releasing two singles plus accompanying videos last year and a six-track EP the year before, they have now revealed their debut album Love Hypnotic. The LP was recorded at their home studio in Sydney, and the DIY aesthetic really comes across. Professional without sounding too polished, the album rings true to the garage-pop sounds of years gone by.
The themes explored in Love Hypnotic aren’t new; it’s all about love, loss, everything in between and after. Yet even in the album’s most serious moments, The Jim Mitchells maintain a calm subtlety.
Personally, I struggled to define the album in a genre sense. It isn’t quite psychedelic in the style of Pink Floyd, nor does it have the indie-pop sound of The Smiths. You could almost get away with calling it shoegaze, but it’s very clear that these guys aren’t staring at their feet; they have their sights set firmly upon the sky and stars.
Love Hypnotic is a prime example of what The Jim Mitchells have already been doing – blending garage, psych, gypsy folk, and pop in a way that actually feels refreshing. For me, describing the album as one genre or sub-genre is pointless.
I prefer to describe this album with a feeling, and here it is: Love Hypnotic always feels light.
Ankle Deep, one of the two tracks released last year, is a prime example. The song has a doubled-up riff played on both guitar and bass, which gives it a really pulsing drive. But just behind the wall of sound is Mitchells’ lyrics, a simple contemplation on commitment.
Worried he may be in too deep (hence the title), the narrator has come to the realisation that he is indeed in love, singing “losing you is my biggest fear”.
It’s a strange line to hear in a male-oriented psych-garage band. These kind of acts generally to steer clear of love, opting instead for either pure heartbreak or something on the other end of the emotional spectrum. Like surfing the coast or, to be honest, taking drugs. This different take is – dare I say it – quite mature.
Or take track six, Got To Believe, a tune about mixed feelings in a relationship. With lines like “I mean no wrong, but you’ve gotta give me time just to move along / Believe me I love you and nothing’s wrong… just give me a chance”, it’s hard not to empathise with that situation.
Lead singer Jim Mitchell sings the line like most would say it, fumbling around from one word to another in the hope that something coherent slips out. The last forty seconds are nothing more than a synth interlude, sparking similarities to Tame Impala’s last LP.
In a way, both albums are cut from the same cloth – two guys lamenting over love, all its rewards and the consequences that follow.
Admittedly, it took me a couple of listens to understand what The Jim Mitchells are going for on Love Hypnotic. Around halfway through the third listen, it hit me; something different. They aren’t tagging along with the latest craze, nor are they rehashing proven formulas. They’re aiming at a new target.
If you want to experience something new, if you want to cry over your heartache, or even if you just want to space out for a while, Love Hypnotic is for you.
Catch The Jim Mitchells live on their album tour. Dates below, find the finer details here.