Review: Look Mexico – To Bed to Battle

Artist: Look Mexico
Album: To Bed To Battle
Genre: Indie Rock
Label: Suburban Home

Tallahasee’s indie rock outfit Look Mexico took form in 2004 but it wasn’t until their debut album, This Is Animal Music in 2007, that they gave listeners a clear vision of diverse musical territory they cover. By bridging the gap between emo pop and math rock they introduced a breath of fresh air in the indie world. Following that up with the experimental and well received Gasp Asp EP, only left fans anxious for more. Lucky for those fans, their forthcoming sophomore album, To Bed To Battle, on Suburban Home indicates their already diverse sound continues to expand with their intricate instrumentation and ability to interchange between catchy pop rock anthems to acoustic driven tunes.

Look Mexico’s use of anomalous song titles recapitulate on this record, starting with opening tack and first single, “You Stay. I Go. No Following,” which happens to be a quote from the beloved animated film “The Iron Giant.’ The opening bars alone, with Matt Agrella’s passionate voice layered over clashing drums and an abiding organ, left me in awe. Continuing with the astonishment, Agrella’s falsettos during the chorus and a cameo from Frank Turner on the bridge that led to an orchestrated break with sweeping guitar chords affirm that this track was build to please from start to finish. “No Wonder I’m Still Awake,” follows with a similar tempo and a deep bass line, on the other end of the spectrum, “Take It Upstairs, Einstein,” slows things down with deeper vocals alongside an acoustic guitar. Agrella’s noteworthy and introspective lyrics, similar to the chorus’ heart wrenching question, “Maybe a good friend is like a great story, you can pick up right where you left off. But tell me, where is that kind of book? The book you can’t put down. Am I the entertainment on a coffee table or the dusty novel by the bathroom sink?,” continue to be a strong attribute before an enduring and beautiful orchestral interlude brings the track to its conclusion.

“Until the Lights Burn Out?,” opens with light guitar picking, condensed percussion, and soothing vocals all creating a melancholy atmosphere that transcends during the questioning line, “I’ve been working hard on the same failing fire, where there’s a lot of smoke. What would you say if I told you I’m giving up? No more air left in these lungs.” The song builds up momentum with an electric piano and preceding the chorus that leads into yet another extensive and artistic instrumental break. Fortunately, the distorted guitars throughout the modern rock tune “They Offered Me a Deal (I Said No, Naturally),” and neat electric riffing in “Get In There, Brother!,” brings back the upbeat tempo. Later. following his declaration, “After years of saying please, I’m getting up off of my knees. I’m so tired of not being taken seriously,” Agrella stretches his vocal chords to an impassioned and almost screaming voice.

As the album unwinds with the organ playing a more prominent role, “They Only Take the Backroads,” exhibits a soothing and unique guitar effect  filled finale, making it one of the catchiest songs on the record. “Time For You to Go Do Your Own Thing,” continues with distinguishing studio effects and wrapping up the album, “Just Like Old Times,” intertwines horns and strong guitar work for a colossal finale. Realizing the difficult truth, Agrella sings, “You’re too old for this little boy, then why are you still here wasting time, you’ll be late for your own life. So why don’t you put on a tie and go get a job. It’s right over left, right back over and through, pull tight until the air stops holding you,” before the music escalates to a crescendo instrumental break layered over a repeating rally of “too old for this.”

Whether they are belting out explosive ballads, acoustic tunes, or edgy math-rock songs, Look Mexico succeed. Surprisingly, they have remained relatively under the radar, but To Bed To Battle, is bound to push them more towards the forefront of the indie scene. From start to finish, the cohesive yet very dynamic and compelling To Bed To Battle demonstrates exceptional songwriting skills, intricate instrumentation, and profound lyrics make forimpressive follow up to much adored Gasp Asp EP indeed.
Score: 9.5/10
Written by: Nerissa Judd

James Shotwell
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One Response to “Review: Look Mexico – To Bed to Battle”

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