Mikey’s Imaginary Friends have been upturning the performance art world since 2006. Based in Jacksonville, FL the band is known for performing in exciting public spaces such as rooftops, street corners and on top of a fire truck, to name a few. They aim to craft a multimedia art project featuring music, art, video, painting and performance. Powerful Rectangles: Part One was recorded at Warehouse Studios in Jacksonville, engineered by Ryan Turk and mastered by Chris Estes at Murder Cabin. Conceptually they seek to comment on modern American culture’s obsession with cell phones and technology.
With syncopated beats and airy vocals, “Don’t Forget to Smile” alternates between an indie rock, Built to Spill sound and a heavy grunge. The song reflects on what happens to peoples’ brains as they stare and stare into their phones; “Inside the mind is the place where rectangular empires divide and conquer a genie.” The rectangular empires perhaps are computers and iPhones.
“Question Marks” questions reality, dream life vs. real life, and Internet life vs. real life. The soft vocals contrasted with the 90’s guitar grunge intro establish a musical dissonance where the lyrical questions can come through. “Do you speak unspeakable speaks? Do you dream unsleepable dreams? Infinite thinks, perpetual dreams.” For the singer, the lines are so blurred between tech-life and real-life that he existentially questions waking life vs. sleep life.
Mikey’s Imaginary Friends interrupts the album with short radio voice recordings, similar to how the Bright Eyes album The People’s Key introduces songs. Mikey’s Imaginary Friends uses clever one-liners such as, “Do you sleep because you’re tired?” in the six-second as titled tracks 5 and 9. The repeated question over the necessity of sleep haunts the listener with its soft vocals.
From folk punk to grunge punk to cake-style vocals, Mikey’s Imaginary Friends covers a range of emotive musical styles to imagine a world with less technology and more careless youth in their album Powerful Rectangles: Part One.
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