The argument between analog vs. digital has been an on-going battle between musicians, engineers and producers for decades now. Some say the gooey saturated “warmth” of analog is something digital still can’t replicate. When I started listening to the recent release by The Missing Pieces entitled Lock & Key, which layers on copious amounts of distortion without sounding harsh, I thought to myself this must be analog. The album was engineered and recorded with minimal tracks through an analog Mackie board to a Fostex 1/4 inch reel-to-reel tape recorder. Now if they recorded this into a consumer audio interface that cost a couple of hundred bucks I doubt it would have sounded so gloriously distorted. That being said, the production is far from perfect. Some songs sound muddy with too much low-end and when things get heavy the recordings start to fall apart.
Musically, at its heart these are brick and mortar rock songs that have their foundation in garage and classic rock. The band consisting of Mark Joseph (lead vocals, rhythm guitar, percussion), Nate Harris (lead guitar), Dave Hagan (bass guitar, backup vocals) and Shawn Wyman (drums) thoroughly rock out throughout the album. There weren't any particular songs that felt heads and shoulders above the rest but instead it felt like a fluid, stream of songs that were interconnected. The band also implements small snippets of field recordings in between the songs usually lasting no more than about ten seconds. I’m not really positive what the point was but it didn’t bother me nor did it elevate the experience for me.
I suggest you listen to the album from start to finish but if you are strapped for time there are a couple you won’t want to miss. Make sure to play “Why Am I?” that has some delicious Led-Zeppelin-esque type blues lead guitar. One of the cleanest and slickest produced tracks was “Clement St Shuffle.” It’s a little over a minute long but is quite good.
On top of that you will want to check out “No Fifth Destination” as it revolves around a lone guitar, which lets the vocals breathe more than anything else on the album.
Raw, live and plenty of attitude - I'm digging the album. I think you will too, so give it a hit.
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