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The Mowgli's + The Mainland

California group rock outfit the Mowgli's are touring their latest album "Where’d The Weekend Go," a collection of catchy and fun songwriting.

The Mowgli’s began as a loosely constructed, fluctuating, hippie-leaning collective group of musicians who would play all night parties and warehouse shows in Venice Beach, California. Now, several years after that first phase of the band, The Mowgli’s have become a much tighter, pop-oriented endeavor. Even though the group has seen a lot of change in their several years: a heavy schedule of touring in lieu of local parties, shifts in lineup and alterations of their sound, one thing that remains is the spirit of optimism in their work.

On Where’d Your Weekend Go?, the band’s most recent album, The Mowgli’s optimistic tone is the constant. Referring to the album’s title, lead singer Katie Earl said, “It’s a metaphor for how quickly time flies by.” As the narrative shifts—from a song about feeling lost, to a song about hope for lasting to love, to a song about the loneliness of feeling unloved or unlovable, to a song that questions whether or not loneliness has to be bad—the mode of optimism pervades. It seems that The Mowgli’s, while they are examining the listlessness and ennui that can strike a life with apathetic hopelessness, are deliberately trying to dance their way out of this pattern of lostness with their soaring choruses and their relentlessly playful knack for fun.

The lostness that Where’d Your Weekend Go? rallies against is perhaps most emphatically captured in “So What”:

“The night makes me say
Things when I don’t feel that way

All of my days
Kaleidoscope into a million things”

The kaleidoscope, as a metaphor for life-disorientation, or lostness, encapsulates the burgeoning reality that is the record’s main source of anxiety. “Freakin’ Me Out” follows this vein, tacking onto the disorientation a sense of fear:

“Hey, are you still awake?
I’m starting to feel like I’m running in place
Hey, it’s freakin’ me out”

Further accentuating the feeling of disorienting, kaleidoscopic lostness and the anxiety driven by that feeling is the feeling of loneliness. “Spacin’ Out” comments on a seemingly irresistible desire for companionship, and more importantly a love that will last:

“I was busy looking for forever in you”

The crush of expectation vs. reality is what brings the song’s “space out.” When forever becomes past tense, when expectation and reality disagree, the song’s character is left not just disoriented but lonely, too.

This loneliness, not without a hint of listlessness, is illustrated as a precursor of apathy on “Bad Thing”:

“Maybe no one is the right one
I’m just tired and looking for one of these strangers
Cause it’s better than being alone”

However, it seems that confusion is added to this progression of lostness, anxiety and loneliness. On “Alone Sometimes,” the chorus defiantly claims the refreshing quality of being alone after the end of a poor relationship:

“Man, it feels so good to be alone sometimes
God, I’ve gotta say those are my favorite nights”

And really, it all kaleidoscopes back to disorientation, to lostness and the metaphor of the kaleidoscope itself. Sometimes it feels good to be alone; other times it feels like the worst thing imaginable. Does this all make sense? This is the question taken up on “Spiderweb”:

“Something is bothering me
I’m questioning all I believe
Every time I ask you why
You try to buy me with the same old story
Just gotta look for your faith
Just gotta look for your strength”

Throughout Where’d Your Weekend Go?as days, loves, fears, loneliness and questions kaleidoscope by—the band’s spirit and mode of optimism are maintained. This does not entail a dive into sentimentality, necessarily, even though it may sound prone to just that. Rather, this album seems to attempt a tricky balance: name lostness for what it is, but also keep the songs fast and bright and don’t stop dancing.

—Daniel Hickey


February 2018
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