Joe Mifsud is a singer/songwriter and musician that brings together a laundry list of influences and creates something that is both derivative and unique. His parents noticed his potential as a musician early on and subsequently involved him in music programs. As he grew up, he lost interest in drums as a primary instrument, wanting to write songs inspired by influences like the Beatles, Queen and Nirvana. So he did what any sane person would do in his position and borrowed his older brother's guitar as often as he could until his parents bought him his own.
He released his first album, Mifology, in 2009 and it was met with a "lackluster response" that left Mifsud in a bit of a dark place. He took a couple of years to recoup and figure out how to approach a follow-up release. Then he got to work with an old friend and recorded Stay Calm And Carry On in a little over a year. The result is a polished record with great performances and catchy songs.
As I listened to songs like "Prying" and "Lady Liberty,” I found myself reminded of Jimmy Eat World. His voice has an uncanny similarity to that of Jim Adkins while his songwriting stays well within the realm of catchy rock music. Mifsud shows his sense of humor with songs like the pop-punk tune "My Soulmate Has No Soul" and folky "Can't Make Plans With Girls.” He explores 90's jangle pop with "It's Only Me,” a song that makes fantastic use of the woefully underused cowbell and "sha la la" background vocals. The album mellows out with the string-heavy "Being There" which features a gorgeous arrangement that sits amid brushed drums and acoustic guitar. "Honeymoon's Over" continues the strings and adds some wonderful background vocals. "Bound" is reminiscent of a certain Weezer song that mixes in flamenco guitar and an organ that gives the song a retro feel. "Afterthought" closes out the album and feels like the 90's in a good way.
Mifusd describes his music as alternative, but as an alternative rock album, it doesn't really hold up. As a pop rock album, though, it's definitely a fun listen and one worth your time. The brevity of the songs helps the album move along swiftly and the variety of genres Mifsud explores keeps things interesting. The songs are catchy and really work their way into your brain, leaving you with a batch of tunes that you'll catch yourself humming long after your first listen.
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