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Mean+Flower - Heal Your Machines Today, Raise Your Children Tomorrow

Reviewed by Graeme on 7th December 2003

I reviewed an earlier EP by Mean + Flower earlier this year (In Bloom), and I thought they had a lot of good ideas marred by some technical shortcomings, not least in production. Now, with another EP (rather unfortunately mis-spelled Heal Tour Machines Today, Raise Your Children Tomorrow in the liner notes) it's time to see how they've improved.

Firstly, the production values have greatly improved to the point where they are no longer an issue. Sounds are clean, crisp and the mixing is nice and level. The vocals are also a lot less harsher on the ear, though whether this is down to the equipment used or the singer himself is hard to determine.

Opening track Last Words is a terrific piece of melodic rock. Relentless jangly guitars, high drums and great vocals, everything feels just right. It's upfront and dramatic, with a cracking middle break that any guitar band would die for. The bass is buried very deep, but it works well and compliments the guitar melody well. Track 3, Turned Down, is in a similar vein. Slightly spikier, slightly larger in scope, it's only let down by a lesser vocal performance. But it's still very, very good bearing in mind the band are unsigned.

Come And Go is a little different to the aforementioned songs, a very intriguing piece featuring sudden bursts of staccato noise underneath some tremendous vocals. It seems to end out of nowhere, but it's gripping stuff while it lasts.

The sole downpoint is the rather drab S&M Love Songs. It aims high, but fails to capture the listener and falls very flat. The vocals have a very annoying amount of reverb, as if being sung down a hallway, the melody is practically non-existent and the whole thing goes on for far too long. The stripped down atmospheric finish is adventurous, but it's too little too late to save a poor song.

Without doubt, Mean+Flower have improved greatly - on the whole this is a great EP that rivals many commercial bands with large budgets at their disposal. If they continue on this path, and learn to play to their strengths, then the future looks bright.

Rating: 8/10
Website: mean-flower.net

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