Album – Tenebrae – Mike Mangione

Posted by admin on September 25th, 2007

A real folksy, soul sound, with just a hint of the blues, is probably how I’d best describe this offering from Milwaukee based Mike Mangione. The opening track “Waiting for No One”, has that kick back and relaxed style, very reminiscent of the Commodores, “Easy”, which is a great way to open an album and certainly made my ears prick up, when I first heard it. “It’s Me Not You” develops things further, introducing a delicate balance of strings, which I think are either cello or fiddle, or perhaps both. Laid over the music, is a voice of earthy charm, with a hint of bluesy roughness, think a more Joe Cocker than BB King, but not quite so harsh.

The more I listened to the album, the more I kept coming back to the track “The Killing Floor”. At a tad over 6 minutes, it’s one of 3 lengthy tracks on the album, but it really engages and is probably the quickest 6 minutes you are going to encounter in a while. Many times, especially recently I’ve mentioned albums, that lack that killer track, but here it’s almost the total opposite. Every track has Mike’s hallmark firmly placed on them, but they all have that certain something, and more exciting, that something is different on nearly every track.

“You Don’t Wanna Leave” has a sound that conjours memories of Dire Straits in the 80’s, more album track, than single, but that’s not to say it doesn’t hold up as a great song. After all, I tend to find, many of a bands best songs tend to be album only tracks, as opposed to singles.

Picking killer tracks, proved relatively easy for this album. The opener, “Waiting for No One” is definitely up there and also “Great Divide” and “A Requiem For The Trash: Damnatio Memoriae”.

As the album reaches the end with “Mama, Be Not Afraid”, I can’t help feeling that there’s rockier side of Mike, waiting to be unleashed. I can just imagine his vocals, blasting with some wailing electric guitar. Don’t get me wrong, I love this album, but would love to maybe hear something else with a bit of a kick.

Conclusion : A phenomenally great album, from an artist I’m sure is going to go far.

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