When he was nineteen years old, Dublin born singer/songwriter Jem Mitchell packed his bags and headed across the pond to LA after signing a contract with A & M Records. This began a productive career that would lead to his being the frontman for several indie acts during the eighties and nineties before entering into a fourteen year hiatus.
Now, refreshed and more determined than ever, he has returned to the music scene, recruiting guitarist Ken Browne to work with him on his latest endeavour, Sweet Amphetamine. The five track EP, which is heavily influenced by the genres of folk and Americana, commences as “Fragile Heart” erupts into vocals that ring out across relaxed instrumentation. Strolling along contently, there’s a very strong country taste to this reserved but enthusiastic offering. It’s an altogether light and laid back opener.
“Not the Lovin’ Kind” turns towards more of an acoustic rock sound afterwards, taking off with a purposeful riff. Its passionate melody goes on to unfold alongside guitars that are soft but spirited. This leads to an extended instrumental sequence in the middle which has quite a calming effect as it plays out placidly.
“Black Haired, Blue Eyed Girl” follows by way of a loud electric riff that mixes further hints of country in among some conventional rock motifs. Like its predecessors, it develops very gradually while sustaining a clear sense of direction and focus. It’s quite a mellow piece overall, with which it is easy to unwind.
The title track arrives next, beginning silently ahead of a forlorn melody during which the instrumentation remains subtle. It’s a slow and solemn entry that carries a heavy feeling of lament and reflection. “P’s Theme” takes over from it by adopting a more upbeat attitude. Being entirely instrumental, it exhibits some warm and reassuring guitar work and serves as a pleasant epilogue.
Mitchell has chosen a gentle and inoffensive style here that fuses a strong country/folk flavour with an aftertaste of soft rock. It’s a very tranquil record that soothes the senses throughout. Sweet Amphetamine will be launched on June 24th at Odessa in Dublin. For all of the news and details, head over to Facebook.