Album Review: MisterWives – Connect the Dots

By on Wednesday, 17th May 2017 at 12:00 pm
 

Misterwives Connect the Dots album coverIn times that can seem endlessly dark and foreboding, it’s nice to have a little sunshine. While people have been banging on about all this political unrest being a potential breeding ground for exciting, revolutionary music – something we all know probably won’t happen – it’s actually pop music that we should be looking to. Many scoff at the basics of pop music, but what’s better than some cheery melody to blow away the scary world? Fortunately for us, American band MisterWives have returned with a new record that is absolutely loaded with uplifting melody and meaning. While there are still your usual love songs, a pop music must, they also use their pop platform to take aim at the state of the world and how we can influence positive change.

This all begins, quite aptly, with opener ‘Machine’. Also the album’s lead single, it speaks of individuality and owning yourself, something that’s certainly needed in these frustratingly backwards-seeming times. The track’s intro has calypso elements that provide a warming canvas before the song’s eruption with Latin tinges that dot the rest of the track. It’s in the chorus that the message becomes clearer, with vocalist Mandy Lee declaring triumphantly, “we’re not part of your machine”. A key part of the MisterWives sound, Lee has a radiating personality that cuts through every track, be it in the form of a laugh or sheer emotion. This adds to only accentuate the empathy MisterWives target with their brand of bright and momentous pop. In fact, there are rarely any moments where the party wanes, so things stay pretty full on.

‘Chasing This’ is another triumphant, chorus-laden track that picks up some serious pace with its post-chorus, while ‘Only Human’ tackles some more of those positive social commentaries. Not in the same way as Rag ‘n’ Bone Man: there’s more joy and celebration here, rather than assertive sullenness. With such heartwarming tracks, it’s not surprising that when they do tackle love, they do so with abandon. ‘Drummer Boy’ has some serious Eighties’ pop vibes, the kind that contains layers of funky guitars lines and bass that meld together to form a much larger, The 1975-esque picture.

While the eleven tracks that make up the album flit between the aforementioned subject matter, they do it in a way that doesn’t feel repetitive. They give pop a fresh take where others might use such tactics and the results would come across stale. This is all due to the respect that MisterWives carry within themselves. Sure, there’s a carefree vibe that echoes throughout ‘Connect the Dots’ but ultimately, they mean business. They show this through the slightly reserved ‘My Brother’, which deals with the hefty subject of addiction modestly and personally, though the seriousness doesn’t hang around for long.

‘Out of Tune Piano’ and recent single ‘Color Between the Lines’ return to the happy-go-lucky, life is great stuff, which, ultimately is the major draw to MisterWives. You don’t realise how much fun you’re having until things slow down on that rare occasion, which is by no means a knock on the serious, it’s just that we all love fun. ‘Band Camp’ heads away slightly once again from the in-your-face outbursts, but it dances along with a picked guitar line, group vocals and the perfect imagery of returning to being kids at camp, right down to the crackling fire effect throughout the intro.

‘Oh Love’ brings back the power that was found in opener ‘Machines’; it builds up over a prowling drum beat that paves the way for the chorus to crash open and envelop you. Then we reach the finale. ‘Let the Light In’ is the album’s longest track at just over 5 minutes, and the longest to get going. Flitters of percussion dance around synth chords, repeating themselves as various riffs and extra little bits join in the fun. All of a sudden, the drums thunderously bring a halt and let the song hang until it kicks back in, full of life, action and purpose. It’s the perfect symbolism for what MisterWives really do nail: a good time.

8/10

‘Connect the Dots’, the sophomore album from American indie pop band MisterWives, is out this Friday, the 19th of May, on Virgin EMI.

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