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Mikelangelo and the Tin Star - The Surf 'n' Western Sounds of...

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 28 / 9 / 2011



Mikelangelo and the Tin Star - The Surf 'n' Western Sounds of...
Label: Laughing Outlaw
Format: CD

intro

Compelling debut album from Australian band Mikelangelo and the Tin Star, which combines together the influences of the Beach Boys and spaghetti western music


Duane Eddy’s recent ‘Road Trip’ album failed, despite being produced by a sympathetic Richard Hawley, to over-impress; it was a solid enough set but it lacked that essential spark. The energy just wasn’t there. Where was the menace? Fair enough, Eddy is now in his seventies and has done more than enough to ensure his place in the annals of rock, but after waiting more than twenty years for something new from him many fans were expecting just a little more. ‘Road Trip’ was a good album, not a great one. Australian band Mikelangelo and the Tin Star have recently released their debut album and it’s not only loaded with the twangy guitar sounds we know from Eddy, but is also littered with echoes of many other guitar greats. Hank Marvin, Dick Dale and Link Wray are the obvious ones that come readily to mind. As album titles go then ‘The Surf ‘n’ Western Sounds of…’ must be one of the most accurately named collections ever released. There really isn’t any other name for this wonderfully inspiring music that band-leader, vocalist and guitarist Mikelangelo and his merry bunch of cohorts make. The whole album is the soundtrack of an unreleased spaghetti western played out as the Beach Boys host a Californian beach party. The music surprises and excites more each time. The band may have taken their name from the lead vocalist/guitarist, but without lead guitarist Fiete Geier’s input this album would not be the little gem that it is. German born Geier is an outstanding guitarist. His sound is all over each and every one of these nine original songs, and he wears his obvious love of Eddy, Marvin and Wray proudly on his sleeve. ‘The Surf and Western Sounds of…’ is every bit the album we were all hoping ‘Road Trip’ was going to be. The album is split between instrumentals and vocal tracks. Songs such as ‘Balkan Beach Party’ are exactly as the title would suggest. With Geier’s tremolo-heavy guitar taking centre stage and a blistering solo from the man, you won’t sit still to this track. It’s one of those songs you know you’re hearing for the first time, but feel like it’s been around all your life. As with all the instrumentals on this album, it’s not just Geier’s lead guitar work doing the talking; percussionist Pete Olsen also proves his worth and the wordless vocals which flesh out the instrumentals on some of the songs add so much texture and atmospherem which is another factor that leaves Mikelangelo’s contemporaries standing. Of the vocal tracks, Mikelangelo takes the lead vocal on opening song, ’Action (is My Middle Name)’, and first impressions are of Nick Cave fronting Link Wray, which is no bad thing, a little unsettling maybe the first time you hear it but compelling listening. On another vocal track, ’Le Torro’, Mikelangelo adds Elvis inflections to his Cave-like vocals. It’s unexpected but works so well. With those impressive vocals combined with more outstanding lead from Geier and Olsen holding it all together with his percussive skills, it’s a highlight of the album. ‘Midnight Flower’ finds songstress Saint Clare sharing vocals with Mikelangelo, and her ghostly contributions add yet another unexpected element to an album which keeps throwing up new surprises as each song starts. Her amusing vocal injections to what is essentially another instrumental, ‘Inspector Longboard’, turn this spy-thriller track into another must-hear-again-immediately selection. The closing song, ‘Midnight Rip’ finds Saint Clare sharing vocals duties with guitarist Geier this time. While Geier doesn’t sound so Cave-ish as Mikelangelo, there is still that air of menace floating above the song. Again Saint Clare’s haunting vocals, little more than a whisper on this particular song, bring so much to an already outstanding track. Not only is ‘The Surf ‘n’ Western Sounds of Mikelangelo and the Tin Star’ unlike any other album this year, at just over thirty minutes it leaves you begging for more. I can’t wait to hear what they do next.



Track Listing:-
1 Action (Is My Middle Name)
2 Balkan Beach Party
3 The Armada
4 Le Torro
5 Floodhouse
6 Midnight Flower
7 No Sign Of A Pipeline
8 Inspector Longboard
9 Midnight Rip


Label Links:-
http://www.laughingoutlaw.com.au/
https://www.facebook.com/laughingoutlawrecordsandmanagement
https://laughingoutlaw.bandcamp.com/



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