There is no destination

More than two decades ago, people argued whether emo would go down the path of Jawbox or Mineral. And then it wandered down the Alkaline Trio road instead. Look Mexico has been meandering along the emo path for almost ten years, and it sounds like the band still can't decide what it really wants to sound like.

Look Mexico
(Tiny Engines)
When you create songs like "Well, Kansas Ain't What It Used to Be" and "Ice? Yeah, You Would Chisel Some Off Your heart," you might be accused of embracing preciousness. And these songs do blip and burble with a heart of pure indie prog gold. But Look Mexico is still solidly in the emo camp, whatever that might mean. These songs simply take their time getting to the point.

Unlike Mineral, who could pen lengthy anthems with the best of ‘em, these boys keep their songs in constant motion. The rhythm section is extraordinarily busy, but gentle. I keep going back to the Descendents as the most obvious influence, except that these songs are much too understated and poppy to fit. To use another way-old and semi-obscure reference, this sounds like the Rocket Summer playing Descendents songs.

All those old references are intentional, however. This IS your dad's emo. Or, you know, MY emo. The stuff that inspired the Deep Elm Emo Diaries series. These pretty little pieces are sly in the way they get to the point, but they do get there.

I must have listened to this five times before deciding to review it. The music grabbed me immediately, but it took a while for me to understand why. Over the years, I've discovered that that is how one finds a new favorite album.

Jon Worley

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