January 23, 2019

Mipso – Edges Run – Antifragile

By Kristi Kates | May 12, 2018

Tightrope-walking the edges of college rock (from its home base of Chapel Hill) and country-influenced Americana, Mipso, now on its fifth album, carefully balance the line between well-communicated emotions and overwrought metaphors. “Didn’t Know Love” veers toward the latter, with sad lyrical images of lonely bars, but the more understated, thoughtful tracks like the propellant “Servant To It” and the dual-meanings of “Oceans” are this album’s real appeal. ** ½

Hawk Nelson – Miracles – Fair Trade
Five albums? That’s chicken feed. Hawk Nelson is already on its eighth, and Miracles proves to be yet another reliable set of solid, inspirational pop-rock numbers that’ll settle in your ear, leaving you with both a dollop of positivity and some darned catchy (if a hint quirky) hooks. Case in point: “Weightless,” with its effervescent, unique beat. More introspective tracks like “Crooked Lines” offer a worthy pause and a good seesaw effect happening here between movers and thinkers. ***

Razorlight – Up All Night - Vertigo

This is a thematic album, for sure but not one that smacks you over the head with its rock opera-style theatrics. Instead, you get more subtle transitions between singles like “Leave Me Alone” and “Up All Night.” Comparisons to The Strokes are running rampant about this one, but for good reason: Razorlight captures that NYC-punk feel, but dusts it up, UK-style. *** 

I Am They – Trial and Triumph – Provident
Following in the now-somewhat-worn footsteps of Mumford and Sons and The Head and The Heart: folk-rock band I Am They, which looks to be attempting to deck itself out in some more refined shoes to morph with radio preferences. Does it work? Sort of — although the more modern takes on its songs don’t always seem to be the best ones. Tracks like “The Water” and the late-’80s inspired “No Impossible With You” might have been better expressed via the band’s earlier, more rootsy form. ** ½






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