Artist: Cotton Mather
Title: The Big Picture
Label: Rainbow Quartz/Laughing Outlaw
Sounds like: 1967 multiplied by 2002
RIYL: Beach Boys, The Beatles, Crazy Horse
There putting strange things in the water supply down Austin, Texas way if Cotton Mather's second release in anything to go by. From the word go on "Last of the Mohicans", with a rip of feedback and a wailing FX-box, Cotton Mather's psychotic acid rock raises a pretty yet raucous kind of hell. But it's singer Robert Harrison's voice which draws the most attention. Somehow he's channelled John Lennon's spirit and reprocessed it through a Texan sneer, attitude, regret and anxiety wielded as one with hummable harmonies to boot.
There's only so far you can ride on nostalgia though, and thankfully Cotton Mather mix it up enough to avoid falling into the precipice where Oasis have dived before. "Monterray Honey" sees the band expanding from the traditional four piece, using a succulent harmonium rift that drifts across the tune like a blast of nitrous oxide. This is dreamy pop, celebratory yet thoughtful, and sometimes, like in "Pine Box Builder", down right scary, dark undertones rising to the surface.
There is something vaguely unsettling about hearing a band come so close to sounding like a contemporary Beatles, and it may hinder Cotton Mather's progress in the future. For now though it's enough to let this album wash over you. Some records are for thought and depth; others like The Big Picture, you have to just sit back and enjoy the harmonies.