Friday, May 30, 2008

Miggs – Unraveled

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

All Monty Python-isms aside, sometimes having little to no expectations is the best way to approach listening to unknown music. As a listener, you don’t get too high, or too low, on what’s coming next. You kind of get this honest moment of clarity as the music enters the ear and tickles the emotions. That was how things worked for me with Miggs and their latest album, Unraveled. I had no preconceived notion of what I was getting myself into, and by the end of disc, I found myself tapping my toes, humming along, and eagerly awaiting the next display of musical acrobatics.

Unraveled is a poppy, powerfully emotional rock album that will invoke memories of bands such as Matchbox 20 or Train. Miggs offers up honest music that’s jam packed with hooky and catchy melodies that will have you humming throughout the day. Pushed by strong musicianship, the straight up love songs are given a little extra spice with some off time rhythms and untraditional approaches towards the tunes. On subsequent spinnings, I found myself listening for little nuances within the arrangements of the songs that made this disc a bit different that others of it’s kind. Tracks such as “Perfect,” “Suddenly Wonderful,” “Everything Is Fine,” and “Lie To You” aren’t just the catchiest numbers on the album, they also feature subtle musical challenges that make for entertaining repeat listens.

Not only does “Perfect” induce a smile at the chorus, but the drum work is pretty special, specifically as the snare comes in during the second verse. It’s the little things like this that have always made music interesting to me. There’s no law stating that the second verse has to be played note for note as the first verse. Change it up and keep the listener on their toes!

“Suddenly Wonderful” opens as if it belongs on U2’s Achtung Baby, but any other similarity is washed away as the bands namesake, Don Miggs, begins belting out the vocals. And when he gets to the chorus . . . oh momma! That’s good stuff. Musical nuance #2: Listen for the quiet passage after the bridge at the end of the second chorus. Miggs’ vocals crack at just the right moments to sell the emotion of the tune, and then as the band comes back in, well . . . damn, it’s just uplifting!

Runner up for summer soundtrack of the year goes to “Everything Is Fine.” This bouncy tune will get the most curmudgeonly dude bobbin’ his head and shakin’ his ass. The drum work is sweet through the verse, but it’s the interplay of the instruments at the bridge that add the greatest interest. A bit of a reggae feel? I’m having a hard time placing the sound, but it’s freaking cool. In some ways, it reminds me of some of those complex moments of Rush during their Grace Under Pressure or Power Windows albums. Yeah . . . this one’s my personal fave.

“Lie To You” is the beefiest tune on Unraveled, as you’ll hear Miggs fire away a staccato guitar riff over an off time drum beat. The tune, as I’m finding is the fashion of the band, is uber-catchy and full of musical feats of strength. There are a couple of different breaks towards the end of the song that just grab the attention and defy reason. I didn’t see them coming, but man . . . they sure are welcome!

Listening to Unraveled is kind of like the "torture" of being poked with soft cushions (I had to throw one more Python-ism in there.) None of the songs are all that long, and the little musical flourishes that Miggs toss in the mix make it more than just your average power pop record. There’s a definite musicality to this band that could keep them viable for years to come. Pushing the envelope to their abilities, both in songwriting and performance, is only going to make these guys better and better. Thematically simple, compositionally complex. Sounds like a winning formula to me. - Pope JTE

buy here: Unraveled

1 comment:

Barbara(aka Layla) said...

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!! I love this band! Don Miggs is a musical genius, a nice guy and has a voice killer voice. I listen to their music constantly (check my last fm page, they get played almost as much as U2 and Bruce).

Thanks for giving props to these guys I have been predicting for about a year that they WILL make it BIG. They certainly have the talent for it.

I would like to hire them to play a private concert but don't know if I can work it out.

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