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Damon Mitchell is a young singer-songwriter from Fort Wayne, Indiana, and although only 22, he has both the voice and songwriting skills of someone far more seasoned. His new EP Elise is lushly-produced, vintage pop at its most unabashed and joyful, and its clearly the work of an artist who loves listening to his favorite records as much as enjoys creating music of his own. Mitchell is also the rare artist who is influenced by Paul McCartney fronted Beatles rather than wanting to merely copy his sound, and he injects this poppyness with more than a fair dose of ’70s FM rock like Neil Young and Steely Dan.
“Heist” is the most straightforward Beatlesque here, reminiscent of whimiscal psychedelic pop like “Penny Lane,” whereas “License Plate” is a welcome detour on the EP, showing off a country style more akin to Young’s Comes A Time album. It all fits into the larger picture, and lends Mitchell an image as a connoisseur of all forms of pop music. He’s at his strongest, however, on “World In Her Eyes” when he projects himself as a song stylist in the line of a smooth *Burt Bacharach” interpreter via Steely Dan. Elise is a very strong, confident effort from a musician who is still discovering his image, but it shows a remarkable amount of promise.
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