Album Review

Marshmellow Overcoat echoes Dylan, Petty, and the Loud Family on new CD

Marshmellow Overcoat - Marshmellow Overcoat

Marshmellow Overcoat has one foot in the past and one foot in the present. On their fifth album, a self-titled effort, the Pennsylvania-based group unites the roots-flavored aesthetic of classic rock with the quirkiness of contemporary indie styles. In other words, the band can be compared to both Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and the Shins, brewing warm, likable guitar pop with an emphasis on catchy melodies and no-frills arrangements.

"The Room Spins Around" immediately unveils the group's college-radio sensibilities. The production eschews studio gloss, recalling the early '70s when every instrument could be easily identified and the drums sounding like they're in front of you. Musically, though, the track recalls the fuzzy riffing and peculiar poetry of the Lemonheads.

With "Tune of the Turning World," Marshmellow Overcoat's classic-rock inspirations are proudly unveiled. Here, Tyler Calkins' vocals, pushed to the front of the mix, are reminiscent of Bob Dylan's and the music echoes the Southern Americana of the Band. Among the best tracks on the CD is "Snow Lights," which would've fit perfectly with the idiosyncratic alt-rock of Game Theory and the Loud Family. The bluesy guitars at the end are killer, too.