Yaay! It’s taken a while but there’s now an official review for ‘Don’t Mention The War’ up on iTunes. Here it is:
White Town’s “Your Woman” was probably the most unlikely one-hit wonder of the 1990s, a rather brilliant mash-up of a 1930s vintage trumpet sample, old-school synth pop rhythms, and playful gender-bending lyrics.
But Jyoti Mishra knew the musical mainstream wasn’t for him and cleverly left EMI to return to the indie underground that had spawned his one-man band. Unfortunately, the resulting album, 2000’s Peek & Poke, was terribly inconsistent, and afterward, Mishra seemed to disappear entirely.
Returning to music with the self-released and completely self-created (down to shooting the cover photos and designing the packaging) Don’t Mention the War, Mishra has unexpectedly created his most consistently entertaining album so far.
The 12 songs on Don’t Mention the War (title courtesy of Fawlty Towers, but also pointedly acknowledging the extent to which a war that has lasted longer than World War II is ignored in the day-to-day life of most Brits and Americans) fuse all sides of White Town’s musical personality, from early guitar-oriented twee pop EPs to the dance beats and electronics of Women in Technology and the sometimes strident political themes of Peek & Poke.
For the purest expression of the last, note “These Are the MPs,” a set of minimalist synth washes over which Mishra recites the names of the members of Parliament who voted to authorize the Iraq war, a track that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on a very early Mute Records single.
Other songs are considerably brighter in tone, even when Mishra’s lyrics tend toward the dark. Highlights include “A New Surprise,” two and a half minutes of acoustic guitars, handclaps, and winsome lyrics (“Where are the Jetsons and flying restaurants?/Where is my golf course on the moon?”) that sound like a vintage Sarah Records single circa 1991, the sweet-natured electro-pop of “I Was Trotsky’s Nun,” and the excellently titled, atmospheric instrumental “Theme for a BBC Natural History Series Starring Richard Dawkins.”
It may have taken over half a decade, but Mishra has finally conclusively proven that he deserves more attention than one fluke hit has given him.
What a lovely review! Thanks, iTunes!