Miki P and the Swallowtails is an indie acoustic pop/folk group from Kansas City, Missouri performing original songs written by Miki P. The group includes Miki P on guitar/vocals, Rachel Lovelace on bassoon and Adee Dancy on cello/vocals – wow, bassoon and cello? This album should be interesting. The band members have backgrounds in rock, classical music and jazz. They’ve played at Kansas City festivals, “Boulevardia” and the Crossroads Music Festival, live music spots like the Rino, Mini Bar, Ulah Live Sessions, and have toured throughout Colorado, Louisiana and Arkansas. The album was recorded, mixed and mastered in Kansas City at Element Records with Joel Nanos. The album itself is pretty unique as it blends rock n' roll styles with symphonic sounds and takes people on a listening experience where one can reflect and define who they are.
The band compares their sound to artists like Dodie, Joni Mitchell, and Fleetwood Mac – the album is a “statement piece claiming our sound” as the group states. Here’s a quote to put the band’s sound in greater context – “With lively instrumentals, yet powerful self-control, the batch of songs keep you company in a promise of tenderness. The accompaniment of Miki P’s voice is kind enough to squeeze your trembling hand, and strong enough to teach you to stand on your own. Altogether, the music flourishes right alongside you, growing into itself like a series of spring perennials. It teems with reasons to be, and in doing so, lends to mellow contemplation, meditating on the past for what it was and how precisely we got to life at present.” – Emma Ottinger (Manor Records).
To start the record off is “Not Mine” a poppy and light rhythmic tune, with nice, rich sounds of the cello, bassoon and the human voice – a great combination you don’t hear every day. As a drummer myself, mostly self-taught in all things rock n’ roll both old and new, I’ve always had an attraction to classical instruments, cello being in my top five favorites. “Imperfect” offers beautiful vocal harmonies, a banjo rhythm and overall, an ethereal sound. “Easy Sailing” begins with delicate plucking of the guitar and cello. There is also some great drum beats present, but man, Lovelace’s bassoon has got me hooked – such a relaxing, warm and inviting instrument. “Rose Garden” has a folksier, Joni Mitchell sound and some fun and tricky interplay between the drums, cello and bassoon. I liked this one a lot! “Sarah” begins with a gentle, rhythmic acoustic by Miki P – this one blew me away. Not only was the melody tender and gorgeous, but the sheer emotion behind the band’s instruments really pulled me in, much like Stevie Nicks’ voice, Christine's piano and Mick’s brushes on Fleetwood Mac’s “Sara.” This may sound corny, but I don’t know any other way to describe it.
“Define Me” is a very short song, featuring vocal and piano with a beginning rhythm on acoustic. Miki P seems to be singing about a few specific moments in her life that were overwhelming to one party or another in the heat of the moment, but, in retrospect, those moments won’t come to define who she is. The next number “I” rolls along quite nicely with a gentle, lofty rhythm and a very subtle shuffling beat. The vocals on this one really made me say – wow! Next up, is “Music” – a slower, reflective tune – “I stand still/I wait for my fill, of life” – I can’t write anything else here to justify the beauty behind this song, other than it’s about one musician’s relationship to her work. It’s a remarkably moving tune and one not to be missed, especially if you’re a songwriter. “Cope with This” has an edgier feel with its indie pop rock style. Last, there is “Like the Spider” and it features some crazy good plucking on the acoustic and some sweet belting of the voice by Miki P. And with Lovelace on bassoon and Dancy on cello playing their own instruments so beautifully well, this trio, left me speechless.
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