I heard the members of Mandolin Orange interviewed on the radio and thought I'd give them a listen, so I pulled up their new album, Tides of Teardrops on iTunes. I'm glad I did.
Their sound is interesting, they have great lyrics, wonderful voices, and splendid harmonies, plus the music is very chill, perfect for casually listening to while hammering out a couple of days of editing. I think Mandolin Orange's entire sound reminds me of the song "When I Paint My Masterpiece," be The Band. I love The Band, I love that song, so they are in excellent company in that thought.
One trouble I find, not that I want to call them a novelty act, is that all the songs kind of run together for me. I think this can happen when one relies on some specific musical point, for them the mandolin. It's in their name, but where The Band who I previously compared, can rely on guitar, keyboard, bass, or Levon Helm on the drubs, as well as acoustic or electric versions of most of those, plus several distinct voices, all capable of driving a song, Mandolin Orange seems to have just the one sound, one dimension. Over a couple listens through the new album, I dig it. Going back and listening through all their albums, it got a bit stale, and all kind of runs together.