[sic] Magazine

The Jim Mitchells – Planet Absorbed EP / Love Hypnotic LP

There can be only one. And, true to the infamous Highlander tagline, The Jim Mitchells garage-psych five-piece comprises just one eponymous namesake. Led by the Sydney, Australia multi-instrumentalist and frontman himself, the six-track Planet Absorbed EP was originally released on Third Eye Stimuli Records back in 2016 and, alongside a re-release of the Love Hypnotic LP (also originally out on the same label earlier this year), it is now getting a repress courtesy of the good folk at Cardinal Fuzz.

A neat introduction to the band’s jangly harmonies and star-spangled surf tones, it’s a surprisingly catchy listen that’s scrappy enough to hoot and holler around scruffy stages, yet melodic enough to scrub up sufficiently to be presentable at an early-morning Sunday school session. One of two singles, the harmonica-infused title-track leads the charge and it’s decent stuff hailing from the dead centre of the Black Lips/Oh Sees Venn diagram. Other tracks add spacey scorch marks to proceedings, and the longer run time of a track like “Alone, Stone” lets the band spin off into half-lidded repeats that grow in confidence and stature until you’re whipped clean off your feet by a dangerous rip current you didn’t see coming.

Love Hypnotic is the calm after the storm, an aptly titled 30-minute album that culminates in “(…She’s Why)”, a super-chilled selection of vocal harmonies and guitar patterning that has no other lyrics than the title itself repeated mesmerically about 100 times before fading out to soothing birdsong. There can be only one, but here Mitchell confirms there can also be no-one else; his type of love is all-consuming and borderline obsessive. Consistent with that closer, Love Hypnotic is generally more laid-back than its predecessor throughout, focusing more on simple song-writing and subtle instrumentation, a track such as “Where Is?” being little more than a stoned, sun-dappled strum-along for example.

Mitchell’s knack for hooks remains though, the standout single “Ankle Deep” bouncing along on pleasing bass and retro radio tones that conjure nostalgic images of popping the top and cruising the West Coast in the freewheeling 70s spirit of a band like The Last Of The Easy Riders. Out of the fuzzy haze of the album’s remainder stumble brief concessions to Medicine-style shoegaze on the opener, wheezy organ and Mitchell’s lightly treated vocals that tick along like a summer’s day in the park too. At opposite ends of the spectrum, the metallic twangs of “Magnetic” are held in a suspension of wistful echoes, pure nebulous drone and slo-mo surf, while pop nugget “Got To Believe” grooves at a pace so treacly that it gives the impression of being a 60s garage 45 slowed to 33rpm.

Neither (re)release is a world-beater truth be told, but neither are they intended to be. They say it’s the taking part that counts anyway and The Jim Mitchells are still contributing more than most. Sit back and be prepared to sink in for the duration.

Best track: “Ankle Deep”

~The Planet Absorbed EP and Love Hypnotic LP are re-released on splatter/pink vinyl September 28th 2018 via Cardinal Fuzz.~