Mystery Loves Company in many ways is a mystery to me. Their songs are original enough to rely on their own groove, which I couldn’t fully understand and have had to stay on their ride for a bit before I started to get it.
The closest I could get to familiarity in their sound is who they remind me of, another band I also couldn’t get at the beginning of their career and that is the great Dave Matthews Band.
From what I can gather, Mystery Loves Company’s first member from the beginning has always been Carlos Machado before Madeline Hardeman made the project complete, fusing cello and guitar together to what would eventually include Alauna Rubin (clarinet) and Terrence Allison (drums).
Even with this, I don’t get the sense that Carlos has such a controlling grip on the band’s creative process. In fact, the complete opposite; it’s very much a group effort.
Much like the Dave Matthews band, Mystery Loves Company is very much a communal experience. This means that there isn’t much of a foundation for musical styles and influences to spend enough time in the mix to take root, pushing the track into one direction or the other.
But this also means that everyone has to be very open to the process which can be frustrating to most everyone else and so the devotion to this project is mindboggling to me.
Again, that only makes sense when you’re on for the ride.
The story her is that Carlos was working on some material at an open mic at Houston’s Mucky Duck where he met Madeline. He then did what many ambitious open mic-ers do which is to try and get another performer to collaborate with, see if anything comes out of it. That was in 2012.
What followed was their first three track EP titled Worlds Collide in the first half of 2013, which gives them and listeners a sample of what they can do together. Hardeman was already quite committed to her talents on the cello as if she were channeling Yo-Yo-Ma and her vocals are albums ahead of where one might expect the beginnings of a band to be, and their songs are studio-ready.
What we know so far is the Madeline is a conservatory trained cellist, and Carlos’ past is the perfect example of the American story, immigrating from Venezuela with his family, just trying to find peace of mind.
In the second half of 2013, Mystery Loves Company released their first full-length album called A Mystery Yet Unknown, which is far more grandiose than they might have expected with swampy tunes like “Muddy Blue” (Madeline’s first shot at songwriting, ever) and the dramatic “Otokomi Night”.
Then, they went for it again in 2015 releasing their second full-length studio album Rock Symphony Billion at the beginning of 2015, where they took on more of a pop dynamic with their songs.
Since then, they would release two live albums which recycle many of those songs in a setting they originated from, the stage, with appropriate commentary.
2017 will show that Mystery Loves Company is seizing the moment with confidence they couldn’t gain without going the distance of releasing more than a few albums.
Now, their Revolutions EP show their listeners that they’re well on their way to a new phase in their musical journey.
The story about Carlos and his family immigrating from Venezuela is much like what we’ve read in newspapers, where his father was the victim of a car-jacking. While no one was hurt, it shook them up enough to leave for America.
The song “Aliens” off of their new EP is somewhat autobiographical, without the darkness. It’s storytelling with a somewhat whimsical hook. But their track “If Heaven” describes his views about the promises made of everlasting reward in the afterlife. To Carlos, it’s much more frightening than rewarding.
But it’s also an achievement of their ability to arrange a piece of music, unexpectedly dramatic and what they should aim for with whatever full-length album should follow.
Mystery Loves Company can cover more ground just by self-influence and inspiration and everyone else will follow.
[Featured Image via Facebook]