Spearheaded by a three-pronged guitar attack, Washington, D.C.-based indie outfit Mittenfields make a pleasantly loud first impression on full-length debut “Optimists.” The Dave Mann-fronted outfit earned some positive reviews with 2011 EP “The Fresh Sum,” but it’s taken them a while to follow up. I’m happy to report that this terrific eight-track, 39-minute slab is well worth the wait.
Mann (vocals/bass), Brian Moran (drums) and guitarists Sam Sherwood, Michael Ball and Donald Seale mix in elements of shoegaze and noise pop to create a sound that’s all their own. The lengthy break between records has allowed Mittenfields to hone their sound and perfect their craft.
The best songs on “Optimists’ open and close the album. The razor sharp title track sets the tone in less than two blistering minutes, while sprawling nine-minute closer sends Mittenfields out on a raging high note. In between are keepers “We’ve Become Numbers,” “Doctor! Doctor! The Heart Isn’t Beating,” “Goldmine” and “Birth to Broken Hearts.”
“We wanted to do more than just prolong our adolescence playing rock music,” Sherwood says. Mission accomplished. (Jeffrey Sisk)