By Davis Blount
In the years leading up to band’s debut EP, PHASES, Mojave Nomads were some of the hardest working rockers this side of the Wasatch Range. Jumping at the opportunity to take the stage at nearly any venue, under nearly any condition, Mojave Nomads could often be seen performing at open mics, free concerts or festivals, and even, on rare occasion, at water parks. The time spent sharpening their skills on any and every stage they could find is reminiscent of the Beatles’ time in Hamburg: a young band cutting their teeth and developing their sound by any means necessary.
Fortunately, the band’s time was not spent in vain: 4 years after its initial release, Mojave Nomads’s PHASES should be your album of this (or any) summer. With fuzzed out guitars, catchy hooks, and tight songwriting, the band’s energy carries through each song of the EP, making for a fast-moving and deeply satisfying 27 minutes. Lead singer Tyler Harris’s inimitable voice is front and center of every song, the driving force in the often frenzied fun this EP has to offer. While Harris sets the stage through the tracks, his bandmates Colter Hill (guitar), Cole Eisenhower (drums), Bryton Bell (bass), and Mason Hill (keys) match the energy, excitement, and skill throughout.
The EP’s lead single, “Creature Double Feature,” tackles feelings of inner darkness by referencing the bygone era of monster mash double feature flicks once screened in movie theaters and drive ins (not for nothing, “Creature Double Feature” was also the name of a Saturday morning TV series that would screen after morning cartoons in the 60’s and 70’s). The lighthearted references to the monsters having listeners “right where he wants ya” takes on a more serious note with the warning in verse two:
“Understand why I’ve got to be this way,
My other side is selling my joy,
Avoid what you cannot hide,
He’s a creature double feature break your spirits when he meets ya,
Don’t try to run, don’t try to run…”
Tucked away in the playful imagery is an honest, shameful, and all-too-relatable confession: sometimes, in spite of ourselves, our darker half can hurt the ones we love.
It is easy to love PHASES from start to finish without any complaint. The debut effort shows the band’s technical skill and shows off their signature sound and energy. This EP, while infinitely listenable, may feel a bit too studio slick for those who have heard the band perform live. Mojave Nomads have a presence on stage that sometimes feels a bit more distant when separated by the recording booth. The criticism, however slight, shouldn’t deter any interested listeners from digging the album. If anything, this should push EP listeners to seek out the group next time they take the stage nearby.
While Mojave Nomads seems to have slowed the pace of their releases since PHASES, the EP still stands as a testament to the band’s undeniable work ethic at the time of its release. Whether the band has chosen to pursue other creative pursuits or are merely biding their time until the next release, this collection of tracks deserves a listen in the interim. Make sure to follow @mojavenomads on Instagram. You can listen to “Creature Double Feature” below!