As Tall as Lions
Tracklist1. Holy Ghost Town
2. By Yourself
3. Love is a Room
5. Poster Girl
7. California Smile
9. Dirt in the Ground
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Sometimes it is easy to classify a band within a specific genre such as indie rock or “alternative,” but in doing so, the attention to great songwriting can be lost in the labeling. While the Brooklyn-based four piece A Million Years may wear their indie rock influences on their sleeve, their debut full-length Mischief Maker features 30 minutes of fantastically smart songwriting that injects new life into the genre.
Perhaps Mischief Maker’s most admirable trait is the band’s determination to never allow a dull moment to creep in throughout the album’s nine tracks. “Holy Ghost Town” acts as a perfect introduction to the album, illustrating the band’s love of catchy hooks and massive guitars. The song drives relentlessly forward, with lead vocalist Keith Madden’s smooth melodies soaring over the mix not unlike the stylings of Radiohead's Thom Yorke or Kele Okereke of Bloc Party. After the huge presence of the fantastic opening track, “By Yourself” shows the band having a bit more fun without losing their melodic sensibilities or intelligent progression, while solidifying the idea that these guys are in love with the electric guitar.
“Love is a Room” reveals a more subdued and mysterious personality while including some of the best moments on the album, building upon itself continuously and demonstrating a sense of experimentation rivaling that of any As Tall as Lions record. Tracks such as “Poster Girl” and “Incandescent” spice up the listening experience with drum machines alongside traditional drums, while others such as the closing track “Dirt in the Ground” fully embrace the use of synthesizers to create sonic variations on the indie rock soundscape. Mixed with the raw energy found on tracks like “Holy Ghost Town” and “California Smile,” these uncommon elements flow seamlessly from one song to the next without sounding like anyone other than A Million Years.
Mischief Maker only lasts 30 minutes, but the album is full of so many inspired melodies and memorable hooks that it demands multiple listens to truly appreciate. It is only a matter of time before A Million Years is awarded with a promising record deal and legions of fans who were disappointed by the last Bloc Party album, and the masses would be lucky to have them.