Release Date: Nov 22, 2005
Record label: Misra
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
Like a dusty Midwest version of the Delgados, the Mendoza Line litter the sun-baked highways with a collection of songs that mine the Americana of the left, taking on the post-9/11 political machine with a lyrical subtlety that meets their spacious melodies head on. Timothy Bracy does Blood on the Tracks-era Dylan like a pro, barely concealing a sneer on standout rave-ups like "Rat's Alley" and "Name Names," while Shannon McArdle takes desperation to a new level of complexity on "Water Surrounds" and "Golden Boy (Torture in the Shed)," but the hour of reckoning truly arrives at Full of Light and Full of Fire's lonesome end with "Our Love Is Like a Wire," an old-school country duet complete with audience participation that muses "Our skin is tight/It's like the wind/And something dark is creeping in/What was electric now is gilded/What was alive is now embedded in old age. " The Mendoza Line have mined this kind of sociopolitical territory before, but never with so much fatalistic maturity.
For those who don’t follow baseball, the “Mendoza line” is something like the worst batting average a hitter can maintain without landing in the minors. The likewise-named neo-classicist guitar pop outfit (from Brooklyn, by way of Georgia) sings songs for those characters sitting one major trauma away from the nuthouse, the joint or the grave. The new one, Full Of Light And Full Of Fire, still hosts the puns, put-downs and Paul Westerberg-sized ego of Timothy Bracy at stage center, but his populist wit has never had a broader scope.