Sound — 10
Mojave 3 was the project undertaken by Neil Halstead, Rachel Goswell, and Ian McCutcheon after the demise of the Shoegazing group Slowdive. Although this is clearly a folk/country-rock project, it still bears the subtle atmospherics, dreamy melodies, and minimalist instrumentation that defined Slowdive. "Ask Me Tomorrow" often makes use of the same dreamy, drugged-out vocals, but now always over a soft, warm medley of acoustic guitar rhythm, bluesy electric twanging, and occasional piano minimalism. Though their musical direction has changed drastically, this is undeniably a logical next step for Halstead and co., who had made extensive use of warm, analog sounds and acoustic strumming on Slowdive's last release, "Pygmalion". Mojave 3's first albm is a perfect example of how ambience can be achieved without an array of effects; throughout "Ask Me Tomorrow", the band maintain layers of subtle texture, never indulging in the thin, abstract structures that were often present in their earlier work, nor falling back on dense guitar stumming
Lyrics — 10
One notable difference between Slowdive and Mojave 3 is the attention paid to lyrics. Now that Goswell's vocals are high enough in the mix to decipher, "Ask Me Tomorrow" finds her and her bandmates focusing their attention on writing lyrics that stand alone as poetry, but also work remarkably well with their dreamy folk rock. On the opening track "Love Songs On The Radio", the vocalist coos "Lovers all around her/ She wears them like her jewels/ My friend says she's all he needs/ To feel alive". The remainder of the Mojave 3's lyrics are similar; they retain the abstract, indie elements of Slowdive's early songwriting, but infuse it with a distinvtly pop structure, creating something that is both beatiful and arty, but also poppy and accessible.
Overall Impression — 10
I am a dedicated fan of Slowdive, citing them as one of my all-time favourite bands and as the main influence on my own playing, so I was initially sceptical when I found out about the post-Slowdive folk project Mojave 3. I must admit that I am hugely impressed with Halstead & co. They deliver an album of compelling, dreamy folk that never falls into any of the clichs of the genre, nor ever wanders into self-indulgent exploration. "Love Song On The Radio" is the lead single from this album, encompassing everything that this band tries to do in a single track. Other songs such as "Sarah" and "Pictures" stand out as simple but gorgeous mournful ballads. A very accomplished debut; I can't wait to get my hands on other albums by this group.