Sometimes you get the bear and sometimes the bear gets you. So the saying goes anyway and – here comes today’s awkward segue – Ava Mendoza is clearly a hunter, armed with guitar, of musical prey with “Unnatural Ways” being something of a trophy.
She, along with Dominique Leone and Nick Tamburro, could have taken the easy route to guitar led post rock nirvana and simply stopped off at all the truck stops named virtuosity on their journey. They could have but they didn’t. Instead they turned on to every side street and dirt track that they could find in search of something that someone might not have heard before.
The stamp of conventionality is still to be found on many of their songs. “Harpy”, as an example, sounds, initially at least, like it has the makings of a cop movie soundtrack before it goes all freeform. Not random freeform though but more a mashup of all the likely influences for such a soundtrack reassembled into something that is both logical and different. The feral intensity of “Dogsbody” likewise reinforces the validity of their ying yang approach to song construction as does the art house poetic meandering that paints a picture of lost souls all over “Danifest Mestiny”.
Perhaps a hard album to like, or at least hard work to like, “Unnatural Ways” has the very welcome mark of originality embossed in wax upon it. A blessing upon their rather unnatural ways is therefore given.