Perhaps we’ll see – and ultimately hear – a little more sunshine in 2019, and if Damon Mitchell’s EP Elise is any indication, we ought to feel slightly happier. Classic in terms of vintage pop music, Elise is Mitchell’s ode to a time of simpler radio pop, as well as simpler tunes overall. Replete with a period-appropriate production style and arrangement, Mitchell’s ode to the perfectly pleasant sounds of yesteryear is just that.
One of the most endearing details of Elise is the Mitchell’s sometimes imperfect yet devoutly earnest vocals. As if he is still plagued by the titular figure herself or plagued by an inability to connect, such feeling come through with vibrancy on the EP. Mitchell is an interesting crafter of songs in terms of the interplay between staunch genre forms and the overall instrumentation. The track, “License Plate” (which sounds oddly similar to Nirvana’s “In Bloom”) almost comes off like a bluegrass interpretation of a grunge-era tune. And while “Salo” somewhat misses the mark with its less than imaginative wordplay and narrative, the apparent struggle is nonetheless a theme Mitchell is thoroughly committed to.
It can be a rare treat to hear an output from someone who considers themselves a connoisseur of rich 60’s pop, to see just exactly how the permutations of lush sounds interact with a sensibility that may be minimalist or less fantastic in scope. On Elise, Mitchell sacrifices very little of the motif in order to secure more of a marketplace of vintage sound.