These days, many artists tend to put most of their eggs into one basket; they exert most of their effort into the hit singles that will appear on an upcoming album. This often leaves the album cuts lacking, which are often the hidden gems of a truly great album. With that being said, I was somewhat apprehensive when I put the latest album from The Mowgli’s, Waiting for the Dawn, into my car stereo and pressed play. I had heard the initial track off the album, “San Francisco,” several times before, including on THE IMPACT, and I instantly knew it was a good song. Actually, I didn’t think it was merely good, I thought it was great; I rarely feel this way listening to a song for the first time. So, I had good reason to be worried that Waiting for the Dawn would be, like many other albums of the Digital Age, centered on a few good individual songs and fail to create its own identity as an album.
Luckily for me, and the rest of the music-listening public, I was wrong.
Listening to Waiting for the Dawn all the way through was certainly an experience. The Mowgli’s play a very fun and upbeat brand of jam-rock, all while hiding tiny intricacies that the listener may not pick up until their 8th, 12th, or even 20th time listening, which is fitting since it is coming from an eight person ensemble. Their lyrics are very light and fun, which can be summed up as “peace, love, and always stay young at heart.”
The album certainly takes you places. It has a way of releasing a wave of nostalgia in its listeners, even in those listening for the first time. For me, the album takes me back to those summer parties my friends always threw at the cabin on the beach. The album is very carefree, easygoing, and never a waste of time, just like any time out with true friends. The album even feels like a good party and it roughly progresses like a one, too. You show up, and it’s a blast right out of the gate with the driving, rhythmic guitar strumming, screaming melodicas, and sing-out-loud choruses of “San Francisco.” After the big entrance, you run into friends and catch up and shoot the breeze to the laid-back but fast-paced “Slowly, Slowly” and the shuffling drumbeat of “Waiting for the Dawn.” But all of a sudden, you run into that one cute girl/guy and strike up a conversation during “Love is Easy,” which seems reminiscent of some 60’s-era folk rock love songs (Imagine The Turtles or The Lovin’ Spoonful with a little more crunch and twice as many musicians playing at once). You spend the next few songs trying to impress her/him, which includes my personal favorite song off the album, “Time,” which is all about taking chances and living life as we grow older and become adults. It’s the ultimate song for anyone going through their 20’s mid-life crisis. The party picks right back up with up-tempo group-sings like “Say It, Just Say It” and “Leave It Up To Me.” Sadly, the great Mowgli’s party comes to an end, and you’re scrambling to find her/him, hoping they aren’t nestling up to anyone else. Of course, you find her/him and you encounter the gloriously awkward “What-are-you-doing-after-this” end-of-party conversation that we all know too well. “Hi, Hey There, Hello” captures that exchange perfectly with a quirky duet and a “forever young” message. I’m not sure if that’s what the song was actually written about, but well done, Mowgli’s, you’ve captured the atmosphere and emotions contained in one of society’s most enigmatic rituals. And then like that, you’re heading home, and you’re thinking back on your night, remembering everything that happened and knowing your night really was well-spent. That feeling is what the final song on the album, “We are Free,” captures very well, and really brings this album full-circle. The diffusive and ambient closer employs a very similar chord progression to the opening song on the album, albeit much slower and spread-out, along with a few other musical ideas that were borrowed from previous songs on the album. It leaves the listener with a feeling of introspect and peace while reminding them of everything they’ve heard. I can honestly say that this was the first time an album made me look back at the rest of the album and reflect on it.
This is an incredibly diverse album, but that diversity doesn’t take away from the album’s identity. Its identity is plain and simple: Enjoy yourselves while spreading peace and love. You can tell the musicians had a lot of fun recording this album, and that makes the listener have fun as well. Waiting for the Dawn is a blast to listen to, musically interesting, and it really gets you thinking. It really has the potential to be one of the best albums of the summer, and could easily be that missing part of your summer soundtrack.