By Johnny Dunn
The debut record released by the eight-piece indie band The Mowgli’s is composed of thirteen of some of the warmest beach jams in years. Well, major debut record anyway; the self-released Sound the Drum was a delight of coastal summer music from last year, and Waiting for the Dawn continues the band’s poppish, folk-rockish, buoyant wall-of-sound.
You’ve probably heard the first and most well-known track “San Francisco” blaring on Alt Nation with its instantly recognizable layers of upbeat guitar strumming and refined lyrics preaching love and peace. When that kind of a song from a not-so-well-known indie band gets a lot of radio play, a lot of instantaneous fans are left just that–instantaneous, when they hear more songs and think to themselves: These people are not who I thought they were.
But as soon as the second track “Slowly, Slowly,” another easy hit that’s very easy to the ears, begins, all anxiety and thoughts of potential band disappointment is dispelled. In terms of quality and sound, this album’s as consistent as they come. All songs from the band’s EP Love’s Not Dead are there and fantastic, but the band’s new material holds up just as well. “Clean Light” starts off with a driving whistling melody and has a very lovely, bright-sounding synth in its layered chorus. “Emily” has a very refreshing banjo and violin line, and an ephemeral chorus that you just want it to repeat over and over again. “Say It, Just Say It” is another high point of the album, epitomizing the band’s ability to pump out fluff and simple lyrics and give them meaning and life.
The last song on the album “We Are Free” is an almost sobering experience after the wild fifty-minute long ride of summer love and fun. The melancholic guitar strumming and singing go surprisingly well with the whistling and soulful saxophone line in the chorus (Holy shit! Yes, a sax). A fitting ending to a solid record.
From start to finish, Waiting for the Dawn does not once slow down. Highly-varied and energetic tracks will make for minimal skips, and definitely earns this disc a permanent place on a CD shelf or car. Plus, it’s absolutely going to make for a very lively show from the eight passionate performers as well. The Mowgli’s play accessible, pleasant-sounding songs that your grandparents and younger siblings will enjoy, but they keep a mature, deeper meaningfulness through their cultivated lyrics, spirited performing, and pungent instrumentation.