I love this movement in the indie music scene where genres like country are transformed with indie ad alt rock undertones. Country is a genre that I am highly particular about. I am notoriously fussy about what goes on my country playlists; Spotify has yet to peg me down. Luckily Michael Anguish, a strong alt country solo act seems to get me perfectly. He has a wonderfully unique perspective for country. The subject matter quickly branches out from romantic dilemmas and stories to very introspective and big picture thinking. He is not afraid to reach for broad reaching concepts and it actually fits the genre in a way I would have never thought it would.
Anguish is a solo act that is bursting with ideas and content. The album is full and I heard so much and yet I get the sense he has more to say. He's one of those artists I am not afraid to invest in because I have no doubt he has another album formulating as I type. With all these ideas I was amazed as I listened through the album that there was a serious effort made to keep things cohesive. With so many different genre bending tracks, he managed to find a folksy vein right down the middle at all times; I was into it. There were a few lo-fi songs that didn't quite ring my bell, but other than that I felt the album had a strong and interesting voice.
I love, love, love Anguish's voice. He has a delivery that is forlorn and a little tortured, but hopeful and romantic at the same time. His aesthetic is inviting as are his lyrics. I really appreciate his range in the department of word-smithing. He can be blunt, ironic and deeply metaphorical. I like him best in his stark straight talk mode. There's a lot of tough love and honesty in here that really resonated with me. I feel like the lyrics were as much a driving force as the music itself.
While Anguish is a solo act, he had great production help in Chris Gordon of Three Hands Studio in Glasgow, Scotland. I feel Gordon was just as experimental as Anguish is. There were some interesting mixing choices that really paid off in terms of bending the genre rules. Anguish's voice was also handled with great care. The mixing and mastering really aided in the effort for this album to sound fresh. I think these two are actually a dynamic duo.
I would say the reach of this album has the potential to be broad. The country aspect does put it in a bit of a niche, but I believe that is something this album could easily break out of. Indie rock fans I think could warm up very quickly to this sort of sound. This is one of those albums I like to follow to see who is talking about it and how.
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