Disguised As Ghosts
Mock Orange's first proper studio album in nearly three years takes the band's kinky indie-pop/rock and truncates it significantly. Even as the years have found the band completely leaving behind the scrappy, squiggly guitars and the late-’90s emo earnestness of their earlier material and embracing sonically textured, quirky compositions, Disguised As Ghosts is the band's shortest effort in terms of runtime since 1998's Nines & Sixes.
That makes it a little more difficult to follow what Mock Orange are doing from song to song, but it all seems to be welded down by their modern trademarks: buoyant and amicable (though somewhat froggy) vocals; major-key melodies; a rippling layer of fuzz; and shambling, slowly driving guitars. It's not far off the scale of what Fake Problems were doing on It's Great To Be Alive, from the bizarre, minimal trappings of “My Car” and Built To Spill looseness of “I Can Sing” to the wispy yet bright folk of “Going Away” and more dynamic threshold of “Roll Your Eyes.” They're subtle variances, but they go a long way to keeping Disguised As Ghosts captivating.
While it sometimes sounds like Mock Orange have complacently settled into a friendly shuffle (something critics and fans seemed to note of the oft-compared Modest Mouse and their own We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank), it's still a usually engrossing listen. They even give longtime fans a wink by reconciling their post-emo era with those noodlier guitars of yore on “End Of The World,” which is propelled by a lead riff that provides perhaps the album's most memorable moment.