Album Review: Mock Identity — Paradise

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Mock Identity


Mock Identity w/ BStar, the Spider Magnets

Trumpet Blossom Cafe — Tuesday, June 26 at 9 p.m.

For many eastern Iowans, your foot in the door to Mock Identity, a new band formed just last winter, is bassist Joshua David Hoffman, formerly of Supersonic Piss, which bowed out of the Iowa City scene in 2013. The band’s farewell blog entry, posted just under five years ago, indicated that Hoffman was off to new endeavors in D.C. — there, he built the connections that led to this new act’s formation, and resulted in Paradise, a debut that is more than Iowa City fans could have hoped for.

Mock Identity takes Hoffman’s bass and joins it with Jeff Barsky’s guitar, Nate Scheible’s percussion and Adriana-Lucia Cotes’ vocals. All have long musical histories either with other acts or solo, but their chemistry together makes it seem as though they were born to play with one another. If this is representative of the D.C. scene, there must actually be some greatness fomenting there in the shadow of the ugliness that is our halls of power.

On the first track, “See Me,” Cotes — who also does the lyrical heavy lifting — sings, “I do things my own way.” That’s evident in each moment. Not only are the songs all scathing indictments of the status quo, but musically, Cotes, Hoffman and their bandmates each bring their own styles to the table; they mix flawlessly into a post-hardcore mélange, but each distinctly shines through.

“I hope you see me/one day/doin’ my own damn thing,” the first track continues — the lyric is a petition, but the delivery is a demand. Cotes will be seen, and this album is a first volley designed to engage the war for visibility. Track two, “Glamour,” doubles down: “You can’t catch me,” it taunts; “This glamour is not for the man/it’s for me” teases a double meaning — the baseline feminism of women wearing makeup for their own pleasure rather than to entice, but also the notion of a fairy glamour that implies fluidity between identities, taken on for reasons other than fitting in with society or appeasing “the man”; a code switch that’s instinctive and fun rather than defensive.

The entire record could be taken as a treatise on identity, especially with the inclusion of two Spanish-language tracks (four, “Nación de Opresion,” and eight, “Legacía”). They are both a well-deserved “fuck you” to monolingual folks, in the sense that they feel no need to offer concessions to those who don’t understand them, and also an invitation into that world, in that they fit seamlessly into the record, and are understood musically at a deeper level than textual — it doesn’t hurt that “Legacía” lands heavily on a word easily understood in many languages: Revolución.

Ultimately, Paradise is invoking a paradise that isn’t yet extant, but which Mock Identity is more than prepared to help precipitate.

This article was originally published in Little Village issue 245.

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