MellowPhobia / Photo by Fally Afani

It’s been a while since we’ve had a really well-produced local indie album come our way, but MellowPhobia continues to check all our boxes.

The Act of Loving in Return is a masterclass in youthful angst. It kicks off with the frustration-laden “Finding It Hard,” setting the tone right away for the album with angsty lyrics over guitar tantrums. From there, the band continues to share their dissatisfactions with us, all while treating their listeners to fantastically-written melodies. We’ve noticed that their bridges are always a moment for quiet reflection before diving back into their noisy airing of grievances. We love it. The frontperson certainly has the vocals for this mood.


We’ve said before that this is a great band live. However, they’ve been garnering a lot of attention online for their recorded work as well. The single “Jackal” is a popular one at shows, but it’s racked up thousands of streams on Spotify. There’s a great vintage vibe for songs like “Scholars” and “Therapy.” “Los Angeles” breaks our hearts, and closer “Breaker Waves” is absolutely stunning.

MellowPhobia is great therapy for today’s young fans. Their live sets are already a blast, but The Act of Loving in Return seals the deal with solid indie rock songwriting. The sheer innocence of it all is enough to leave us emotionally wrecked. We hear these songs and just want to hug them (or shake them) and say “You have your whole lives ahead of you! It’s going to be ok!” If nothing else, this is a perfect Summer album released at just the right time.

You can listen below and see them at PRIDE on June 1st in Downtown Lawrence.



Fally Afani is an award-winning journalist with a career spanning more than 20 years in media. She has worked extensively in radio, television, newspapers, magazines, and more.

Leave a Reply