Blake I. Collier | The Dirty Deacon

Contributor for Mockingbird | Co-creator of Son of Byford | Contributor for Christ & Pop Culture

Michael Bradley

2012: The End of the World…Week 32

Myssouri - War/Love Blues

This is a much more accessible Myssouri than their debut album and the following EP.  This album comes out sounding more like a solid rock album than a shoegaze-tinged, atmospheric rollick.  Admittedly, seeing the music video for “Terrible Love,” which is a solid song on the album, made me think that they had the egos of a darker Nickelback.  I was not terribly impressed with how their personae were displayed in that instance, but that does not even come close to ruining this album for me.  As the title would seem to allude to, there is a lot of blues influence worn on their musical sleeves here.  Several blues guitar riffs and shuffles displayed throughout the music, most bluntly displayed on the first track, “Rood Boy Blues.”  While the energy of their music picks up on this album, their ability to make the album sound like a cohesive whole is quite impressive.  At no point did I think they diverged from the overall tone of the album.  I think that shows an increased maturity, to break from what was expected of them and yet still not lose the consistency that was a definite part of their debut album. 

Once again, all of the tracks here are solid.  My personal highlights for the album, however, were “Rood Boy Blues,” “Terrible Love,” “Orphan Song,” “Down In Flames,” “The Eyes Of Others,” and “I Got It All.”  The only weak part of the album, in my opinion, was the concluding track, “Teaser Stallion Blues (Excerpt),” which seemed utterly pointless.  Thirty seconds of music and a minute and a half of silence until the very end where the album, strangely, ends with what sounds like a digital audio flaw.  This just seemed extraneous and utterly stupid, in the end.  Other than that apparent misjudgment, this a solid rock record with nice blues influences and fun rock moments.

Apocalyptic Rating: 7 out of 10 (Now would be the time to get doomsday insurance)

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2012: The End of the World…Week 31

Myssouri - Malamerica

Taking me back to a style of gothic americana more in the vein of Wovenhand than any of the other bands I have heard this year, Myssouri is full of atmosphere, distorted guitars and an impending sense of doom.  Malamerica never really lets up on the dark foreboding intensity of its music.  Eventually, in the last two tracks, the music itself (not necessarily the lyrics) lightens up a little bit with a certain airiness.  However, the lyrics continue to have a darkness that is increased with various allusions to Biblical concepts but taken outside of their original context.  Unlike Wovenhand, this album had much influence from shoegaze bands with the heavy guitar distortion and almost ambient hums in the background.  The vocals were unabashedly along the same lines as most of the vocal stylings of the gothic americana bands out there.  Michael Bradley, though, has a deep voice and presence on songs that reminds me quite a bit of the style of Johnny Cash. 

There really is not a bad song on this album.  But I don’t think this could actually be considered an accesible album.  To the undiscerning ear, there may not be a whole lot of delineation between songs, but after listening to the album 20 times this week, I found that some of those people might mistake the use of consistent musical themes throughout the whole album for “a band that only has variations on one song.”  I think the talent, both musically and lyrically, of this band is shown quite well on this album and, even though I doubt this will make my top ten list for the year, it is easily a solid selection for the genre as a whole.  But it would not be an album I would point people to who are interested in easing their way into the genre.  It needs more focus than the average listener is willing to give it in order to grasp its quality and import.

Myssouri - Furnace Songs

Even though it has much of the same atmosphere as Malamerica, this EP doesn’t quite reach the level of its prior LP.  Matter of fact, I thought about which song I wanted to put on my blog from this EP and I ended up picking none of them and putting a third Malamerica track instead.  Every time I listened to this group of five songs, none of them really popped out at me as something that I would want to showcase on my blog.  This is not to say that this EP is bad necessarily, but these songs don’t quite have the umph that the last LP had and none of them quite capture the darkness and intensity that Myssouri presented themselves with.  It plays more like a collection of b-sides that didn’t quite make the cut for either of their albums.  Not bad, but not album worthy.

Apocalyptic Rating: 9 out of 10 (…and here comes the hurdy gurdy man…)

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