The term “indie music” is on the cusp becoming trite. Once a definition to describe music produced on minimal budgets without the backing of big record labels, the term is now analogous with everything from Animal Collective to Mumford and Suns. The lines defining what is “indie” and what is not bleed so far that calling a band’s music “indie” is just as specific as calling it “rock.”
Curt Mychael embodies the word’s true definition, and opts for the autonomous, tape-recorder-in-the-bedroom approach to recording his newest release, Curt Mychael Volume One. The brief cuts of twang-folk harken the throwback, indie sound he—and we as a collective musical critic consciousness—yearn for.
From the sub-two-minute opener, “Back to LA” to the closer, “It’s Gonna Be Alright,” the six-song EP has an unmistakable airy quality to it, like a breeze through an open window. The vast openness of the instruments parallels the theme of movement throughout the EP as Mychael never seems content staying still; many of he lyrics are about returning to the west coast, whether this be a physical or mental space. And at only 21-minutes, the EP is overt in its message: I won’t be here for long. That being said, the twangy electric guitar does overstay its welcome after only a few songs in.
The album opens with "Back To La" which revolves around a couple of guitars and his vocal. The lead guitar playing is impressive but barely gets in the way of of his story telling. He sings with an earnest conviction that makes the song inviting. He lays down his guitar on "Pure Gold" and replaces it with an electric piano while "Reset" feels like a confession.
While Curt Mychael never breaks genre boundaries with his newest release, he’s breathing air shared by bands like Good Old War, Sea Wolf, the Fruit Bats, and others. Though the openness of the music does garner comparisons to a less cathartic Alchemy Index: Vol 3: Air by Thrice, the overt twang does separate this release from most others found today, “indie” or not.
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