Mahogany Memory Column — Early Works and Rarities

This fantastic double-disc set collects work by Mahogany previously available only on limited vinyl singles or compilations. The first disc focuses on their earlier material from 1997-’99, which established their hallmark dreamy guitar pop sound. These tracks are consistent in style with the material that made it onto their debut (and only) full-length album, The Dream of a Modern Day back in 2000, but in many cases they are more striking. "Lynn Minmay” or "Altima Futura Automation” are examples of strong, dynamic pieces that are far from being demos or mere extra material. The second disc covers material from 1999-2004, during their time in Detroit and New York, their current HQ. Here we get a chance to see what they’ve been up to since their Clairecords debut. Although no radical changes emerged, the sound definitely matured thanks to the growing production skills of guitarist and co-singer Andrew Prinz. Their avant-garde pop style really comes together, and tracks like "Light Will Deserve A Place” or "Wagons-lits” really soar. The frequent comparisons with early Cocteau Twins, Stereolab and the shoegazer scene are well justified — in another time and place they could have easily wound up on 4AD or Creation. The layers of soft guitars, cello, various electronics and Allysa Massais’ otherworldly vocals make Mahogany one of the best U.S. exports of the sub-genre, and their design aesthetic nod towards Factory Records and early OMD packaging certainly doesn’t hurt. It’s a shame these songs have been relatively buried, but thanks to this nicely crafted collection, more of us can get a good window into the sonic bliss of Mahogany. (Darla)