Bright and breezy indie pop with a hint of melancholia, Into The Lime sounds just like you imagine an amalgamation of Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake and Joe Pernice of the Pernice Brothers (together with drummer Mike Belitsky) would do. Originally intended as a ‘concept’ album for a Nick Hornby film, The New Mendicants‘ debut explores a variety of musical styles, seamlessly merging folk with bubblegum pop with an added dash of alternative, effectively culminating in Belle and Sebastian meets The Byrds.
As you would expect from artists with comparable musical styles, the LP flows nicely; effortlessly blending Blake’s whimsical lyrics and pop melodies with Pernice’s more sombre attitudes. The Scot’s brand of playful indie pop can be heard on tunes like ‘Shouting Match’, ‘Cruel Annette’ and ‘A Very Sorry Christmas’ while the more enigmatic Pernice, who actually sings the majority of the tracks on the album, makes his presence felt on more subtle, acoustic ballads like ‘Follow You Down’ and ‘By the Time it gets Dark’. Of the remaining tracks, ‘High on the skyline’ is definitely a highlight, it’s dreamy melody complemented wonderfully by some fine vocal harmonies, while the ever jovial opener ‘Sarasota’ instantly draws the listener in with its laid-back yet absorbing style, a trait that is later reinforced on songs like ‘Out of Lime’ and the more retro-sounding ‘If You Only Knew Her’.
Well paced throughout, with a number of slower and stripped back tracks providing a regulating effect on the LP’s fluid pop structure, Into The Lime is a highly pleasant listen that radiates an undeniable charm. Where the record does fall done however is through it’s sheer uniformity and at times overly simplistic song structure, which slowly erodes the band’s grip on the listeners’ imagination. Ironically the only real break in tradition comes at the end with the boisterous ‘Lifelike Hair’, an intriguingly grungey, alternative tune that probably should’ve provided an earlier wake-up call before the slow descent into dreamy pop slumber. Sometimes you can have too much of a sweet thing.