Mojave 3 Excuses for Travellers

Mojave 3 Excuses for Travellers
These are dark days for pop, at least on this continent, but a darkening gloom transformed by an ineffable pop alchemy into a thing of bittersweet beauty is at the heart of Mojave 3. Sadness, loneliness, ruefulness and bitter romantic disappointment are the raw materials of their music, and has so often been the case in the annals of lush, heartrending pop from obvious touchstones like Nick Drake to the Chills and even Yo La Tengo, morose sentiments are the stuff of the loveliest of pop. Well-schooled in the music of Drake, Gram Parsons, Lee Hazelwood, Jimmy Webb, Brian Wilson, the Temptations and Smokey Robinson, Mojave 3 are no mere shoe-gazing simps for all the heartache, missed opportunities and pined-for lost loves that make Excuses for Travellers, like all their work, nearly unified enough to qualify as a song cycle. They know the nearly universal appeal of a good wallow in self-pity and melancholy, but there's a paradoxical buoyancy to their songs, too, that is best explained by their melodic strength and shrewd arrangements that colour the spare outlines of songs with pedal steel, horns and '60s girl-group harmonies, elevating their material well above moody pop clichés. If pop songs for the suicidal can possibly be sunny, Mojave 3 have pulled it off. We should all wish them well - but not too well. (4AD)