Album Review: Mittenfields – The Fresh Sum EP

It takes quite a lot to render yours truly wordless, believe you me. But listening to The Fresh Sum EP by local favorites Mittenfields I found myself grasping to find words to adequately express my sentiments towards this 5-song juggernaut. After all, the DC quintet has been one of my favorite live bands for a little while now (not to mention being one of the loudest bands in town), but hearing this first taste of what Mittenfields can do on record has been something else entirely. This EP is the sound of something totally new and wonderful for this here city best known for hardcore and go-go.

For the uninitiated,
Mittenfields is composed of a singing bassist (Dave Mann), a dandy drummer (Brian Moran), and three ridiculously talented guitarists (Donald Seale, Michael Ball, and Sam Sherwood). What these five made happen in the studio is nigh on magical. Sonic touchstones here vary from Pavement to the Arcade Fire to early Verve to 90s college radio, but Mittenfields has evolved a sound that is quite singular indeed. Each song feels like an epic, orchestrated on a grand scale, almost every note pulsating with an electric charge. Mann’s empassioned, occasionally appealingly muddy yelps are given dramatic flourish thanks to the intense, intricate strummings of Seale, Ball, and Sherwood, and Moran keeping time with authority and ease. The songs are at once hugely different yet seemingly fitting together hand in glove, thanks to all that dang talent this band possesses in spades.

The Fresh Sum EP impresses from the burning intensity of first song “My Mind is An Avalanche” to the closing seconds of the rambunctious “Goliath FTW,” and everything in between is a treat to listen to. For now, my personal favorite is “Mixed Signals (On The Rocks),” all starry-eyed slow motion, shoegaze, and wave upon wave of sonic splendor. Taking a more straightforward, rock-centric approach, “Swim In A Tight Parallel” is choc full of shouty vocals and mountainous riffage, given just the right amount of fuzz. “Cascades” begins with a wash of Verve EP-esque distortion, ever so lovely, before evolving into a sweeping, guitar-laden weighty sprawl. If this is what Mittenfields can do on just one EP, I for one can’t wait to see what they’ll do next.

mp3: Mixed Signals (On The Rocks) (
Mittenfields from The Fresh Sum EP)


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