Posted by: Andy | January 14, 2008

album review: Mendoza Line: 30 Year Low

It’s weird how simultaneously disconnected and connected I am these days. I can miss that one of my favorite bands of the decade slipped out one more album a 4 or 5 months ago, yet I can be on top of some other pile of current & pointless factoids. Also, it’s possible that this is their last album. Two of the writers have apparently gotten a divorce at least, and their website says it’s the final album soo….I’ll call it the final album. (But wait, this site claims Bracy will keep the name – and I hope he does. So who knows?)

There’s only 8 tracks BUT, they throw in a second cd Final Reflections of the Legendary Malcontent (basically a B-sides collection) as a bonus – I got both new for $12. So what do I think of 30 Year Low? Well, it’s brilliant, for starters. It’s not as immediately listenable as their previous discs though, in the sense that only one of the songs has much of “pop-ish-ness” to it at all. This would be track 2, Aspect of an Old Maid. I love that track…it starts of a little jarringly in that the male singer (who is it? not Timothy? Ahh, it’s the guy from Okkerville River!) has a strange voice at first. It really works for the rest of the song though. There’s a version here on their site with Bracy doing the vocals. It’s quite good, but not as caustic as the album version, so I’m glad they went with the versions they did. This is Bracy’s writing at it’s best. All the angst of turning 30 eh?

Yeah, so, the 30-ish age block definitely seems to be one of the themes (and I think he may have even said it was in one of the interviews I read, and other reviewers pick up on it as well, so it’s not like this is any kind of secret), that and the dissolution of relationships, quite possibly theirs….(the other half being Shannon McArdle, the yin to Bracy’s yang). The next track (3), 31 Candles, is Shannon at the top of her game, and more bitter than she’s ever been before. The bitterness of age and relationships collecting rust and snapping…it’s there.

The remaining tracks are more standard fare, less abrasive and obvious, but beautiful just the same. They aren’t as strong as the two I’ve mentioned (to my ears), but those two + the b-sides are worth the price of admission

Note, you can hear most of the tracks from the new album on their (old) myspace page.

If you’re a Mendoza Line fan, you’ll like it, and it’s most definitely worth $12.

If you’re not a fan, you should check out any of the other albums first. If you can’t find something to like there, we probably shouldn’t talk about music. Maybe try politics?

Random interviews & reviews:



  1. “You’re so. Inside the music.”
    *Insert Jeopardy music*


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