Excuses for Travellers

Excuses for Travellers

4.0 1
by Mojave 3
     
 

Quietly, Neil Halstead and Rachel Goswell pulled off a smooth transition during the mid-'90s, abandoning the then-trendy shoegazer sound they'd perfected with Slowdive for an organic, country/folk aesthetic with Mojave 3. On their new band's first two albums, the British singer-songwriters maintained an even keel from beginning to end,See more details below

Overview

Quietly, Neil Halstead and Rachel Goswell pulled off a smooth transition during the mid-'90s, abandoning the then-trendy shoegazer sound they'd perfected with Slowdive for an organic, country/folk aesthetic with Mojave 3. On their new band's first two albums, the British singer-songwriters maintained an even keel from beginning to end, reserving emotional peaks for the most memorable songs. Excuses for Travellers finds Mojave 3 confidently striding into their own style, with Halstead's near-whisper balancing atop a cascade of electric guitar notes and strummed acoustics, horns, piano, and backing vocals adding bursts of color. Even so, it's not without its touchstones. "Return to Sender" brings to mind the Rolling Stones' collaborations with Gram Parsons, finding common ground in the pub singalong and the roadhouse dirge. "Trying to Reach You" sounds like an update of Neil Young's "Lotta Love," with Halstead singing longingly over a wash of banjo and pedal steel. On "Bringin' Me Home," with Goswell on lead vocals, the group juxtaposes a budding melody with a sad waltz of words, placing Mojave 3 as contemporaries of Belle & Sebastian. Though it's too simple an album to call perfect, Excuses for Travellers sets out to sustain a genteel, reflective mood, and it does so, perfectly.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Andy Kellman
Quickly becoming one of the most consistently excellent bands of the late '90s and early '00s, Mojave 3 have crafted their third-straight solid album. Progression obviously isn't priority number one on their list of things to do -- the prime directive remains a humble stab at the notion of "Why, shucks -- we just wanna make nice records." Neil Halstead again handles the bulk of songwriting, and his craft continues to be finely stitched like a blanket that provides endless comfort. Excuses for Travellers finds a midpoint between Ask Me Tomorrow and Out of Tune -- it's not as peppy as the latter, but it's not as hushed as the former. There are some subtle differences from the two other records, like the shadings of banjo that appear from time to time and the further presence of horns. Halstead's voice sounds a little gruff on occasion, but it's no detracting factor. Most notable is a Rachel Goswell-sung track, "Bringin' Me Home," which surprisingly adds a subtle touch of synth, presumably courtesy of producer/associate Mark Van Hoen (Locust). Hearing Goswell take lead vocals is like hearing from a long-lost friend; certainly her gorgeous voice -- which sounds relatively toughened on the song -- has been the band's secret weapon. Why she hasn't stepped out more is anyone's guess. No offense to Halstead's vocals, but will there ever be a Mojave 3 record dominated by her voice? One can only hope. Few can fault Mojave 3 for hanging their hat on the same rung for a while, as long as they keep cranking out pearls like they have every two years. There might be little variance, but each of their records to date are utterly classicist and fresh.
Entertainment Weekly - Scott Schinder
The intimate, textured arrangements are well suited to Haltead’s aching lyrics and melancholy vocals...

Product Details

Release Date:
09/05/2000
Label:
Imports
UPC:
0652637000528
catalogNumber:
881580
Rank:
160504

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