Regular readers of the blog know I’m a big fan of New Haven-based sibling duo Mission Zero, and have been following their path for a couple of years now. Last fall, they announced they were taking a break from performances to work on some new music, and as winter has finally decided to more or less pack it in, comes word that a new EP is coming out in May.
The incredibly awesome retro cover for “People in Glass Yachts” got me pretty excited, and then the posting of a pair of tracks from the EP on Soundcloud, which I’ve embedded here for your enjoyment, shines light on the latest explorations of the duo, which as I’ve noted here previously has been pretty vast territory in just a handful of releases. They’ve also been pretty prolific, given this is their second EP in as many years, and the latest tracks show a continued evolution of their sound. They’re a long way from “Heavy Boots” at this point, but it all still fits together pretty well.
I have to admit when I first heard “Lotus,” I was faked out a bit, because after hearing the piano intro, I was expecting the beat to amp up and be much heavier (I’ve been listening to too much EDM lately). Instead they delivered a mellow, mid-tempo track filled with beautifully layered harmonies, a nuanced lead vocal by Chenot, another strong drumming performance by David, and lots of great layers in the production, which maintains the high values seen on their previous EP, “Sky Candy.” In fact, “Lotus” ranks as one of their most complex and beautiful productions to date, and sets a new high water mark for Mission Zero (given the album cover, pun only slightly intended). On their Soundcloud post they describe the track as one of their “Pop Cannonballs,” and it definitely kicks things off beautifully for the new release.
Back to my earlier comment about EDM, this track feels very open to a remix into a dance variant by an ambitious DJ or producer, given the vibe, tempo and the way it builds to a crescendo towards the end. I don’t know the band’s take on that sort of thing, but it could be fun, not unlike what Hank & Cupcakes did awhile back when they had a remix contest.
“What Do I Say” continues a trend for Mission Zero for tight, under three minute tracks (this one clocks in at a speedy 2:10). This track is more stripped down, propelled by a breezy guitar vibe, prominent drumming that gets more complex as the track races for the finish line, a subtle vocal turn by Chenot, and not much else – bass, a bit of keyboards, a quick breakdown in the middle – but that’s really stacking it up for 2 minutes!
It’s clear the hiatus served them well and the time in the studio was productive. There’s four more tracks left to fill out the EP, which include tracks they describe as “exotic tribal adventures” and “one luxurious underwater ballad.” Very enticing words to leave us hanging by!
Thankfully, the wait won’t be much longer, as a release party is scheduled for May 2 at Cafe Nine, presented by The Desultory Theatre Club. Tickets are just $7 each, and they’ve got a pair of other acts joining them, Boy Girl Party and Teen Girl Scientist Monthly, that should make for a great night of music. (If you like bands with the name “Girl” in the title, you’ve hit the jackpot.) The EP will be available for sale there, so you’ve got less than six weeks to go!
Those not yet introduced to Mission Zero would be well served checking out other tracks on their Soundcloud, as well as their website for other scheduled performances, including stops coming up in LA! They also have an active YouTube channel where they release videos for their songs periodically; during the hiatus they unleashed a fun video for one of their tracks, “Humans,” seen above, that’s something you should definitely check out.