Curb Records, home of artists such as Nicol Sponberg, Plumb and Selah, is now hosting a new pop/rock group simply-named Mikeschair. "Simply-named" due to the fact that the name literally comes from lead singer Mike's chair from the band's old college dorm room. After spending time in the dorm writing and recording, Mikeschair has found a home with Curb, as well as their self-titled debut album.
For most of the album, the music remains pretty low-key. Not that it's all acoustic or soft and somber, by any means. There are electric guitars and keyboards all over the place. But I'd call it low-key since it doesn't go anywhere past the typical pop/rock sound. But while it remains within the confines of said genre, Mikeschair does display a desire to write both upbeat, poppy songs as well as slower, more reflective songs. As far as the upbeat songs go, "Straight To Your Heart" sounds almost like a more poppy incarnation of House of Heroes, and the following track, "Back To Life," has a feel similar to that of The Afters. But they do specialize more in the "slower" songs. Songs like "Hallelujah" and album opener "Outside of Me," which both offer a more upbeat sound during portions of the song (the latter of which is actually pretty upbeat for the second half of the song), have slower parts as well that really do showcase the talent and versatility of the band.
To an extent, songs like "Hallelujah" and "Here With Me," as well as several others, may be comparable to just about any other pop/rock group on AC radio, sounding much like artists such as Tenth Avenue North. But I don't think it would be fair to write Mikeschair off as just another radio-friendly, run-of-the-mill pop/rock group. Do they break any barriers musically? Do they change things up? Anything new about them? Well, not really. But that's not where the overall quality of the album is found. The upbeat songs are catchy and somewhat exciting, and the slow songs give you time to sit back and relax and just enjoy some decent music. There are also lyrics that rank higher than most of what you hear on pop radio, which is really what this genre needs these days. Fans of bands like Seven Places, Nevertheless and maybe even The Fray would do well to give this album a go.- Review date: 7/12/09, written by Scott Fryberger of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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