In 2012 Mike Ring started a project called Mike Ring & the Connection. Since then they have released a couple of EPs and recently released To Your Sisters and Brothers. The EP is relatively short at five songs and it delivers an eclectic mix of music including accessible pop music that veers towards something you would hear on the top 40 as well as ambient.
The first song on the EP is simply called “Intro” and sounds like something you would hear from a band like Stars Of The Lid. It revolves around a soft oscillating drone that is wrapped in warmth and melancholy. A field recording of a conversation enters towards the end that sounds like it was made with a small digital recorder. The transition into “Take Back This City” was more than unexpected. It’s a complete 180 from the “Intro” and it took a moment to transition to the completely different style of music. “Take Back This City” is an upbeat, commercial sounding pop song that has a similar style to that of the band Fun.
“He Held Me” is the meatiest song and delivers the most hooks on the EP. It’s frantically optimistic in a way that seems almost unrealistic in daily life. I have to admit the energy grabs you and doesn't let go till the end of the song.
So the music transitions once again to a soft, melancholy ambient piece called “Pride.” It combines a number of recorded conversations with the hum of a pad that creates a sense of hopelessness around the words they say. If “When My Mind's Made Up (Yeah,Yeah)” isn’t on top on the billboard charts it might be soon. It has the essence of popular radio in 2014. It’s hopeful, triumphant and has a lot of the same elements you hear when you listen to popular songs on radio.
The mix of the ambient pieces and pop music is at the very least jarring. It’s like trying to mix oil and water. The transitions were too extreme and unexpected. That being said, Ring has a lot of talent for writing “pop” music. A couple of the songs here could easily be digested by the masses and make their way to the top of the charts on iTunes.
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