When Mere Image, the debut album from Least of These, came across my desk, I had high expectations because they are from Denton, TX. Denton is a strange place. It’s a conglomerate of artists of all types trying to bang out their own voice in a conventional college town. It’s everything Austin claims to be minus the pretense; every live music venue has ridiculous talent coming out of its ears. I don’t say this as a bad thing. So many different genres coexist together. I love it there.
Mere Image shines as an example of what to expect when a band is built in a city with such diverse talent. Their music is the heart of “same but-different,” where every song has a different feel, but also where Mere Image is cohesive as a whole and flows well from track to track. The writing on each song favors the band’s versatility and highlights their collective abilities.
It’s creative and risky. Clean vocals featuring multiple melody- and harmony-lines really give Mere Image a mid-’90s feel reminiscent of Guster one minute, Taking Back Sunday the next, and Death Cab for Cutie the next. The use of multiple vocals tracks in unison really give the album an intimate live-show atmosphere. The songwriting is catchy and easy to follow, allowing an authenticity to shine through the lyrics while almost begging the listener to join in the chorus.
The guitar work is full of creative lines, bends and swells that compliment the vocals without overpowering them. The sounds build space instead of filling it, opening each song up for innovative bass licks and a showcase in steadfast drumming. These guys play and write well together, and you can tell they enjoy it.