Another Michael Return With Dream Pop Bravado on Debut LP
Due 2/19, New Music and Big Pop is both Another Michael’s first proper record and an appropriate description of their turn in sound. There’s still this certain meekness, as heard on earlier tracks like “Football”, but it’s paired with beefier, more bombastic songs that shed most hints of the band’s emo-adjacent past.
Indeed, this is an album adorned with confidence – maybe not in the matter of life or the world itself, but certainly in its ability to articulate what is has to say about these subjects.
Another Michael waste no time showing us this sonic shift. “New Music” explores self-doubt, coming to terms with identity, and the treasure of community in a track that pairs subtle dissonance with a climactic build and a whole host of vocal harmonies. It’s an immediate departure from the band’s earlier work, what with a greater deal of consistency.
“I Know You’re Wrong” continues this same trend, albeit with more upfront “oomph”. Here, there’s a certain sense of Northeastern identity for the band. It’s been famously stated that more specific lyrical motifs have a wider general influence, and that’s certainly true here. Giving the lyrics a time and place add a context and romanticism that wouldn’t exist in a more ambiguous context.
“Big Pop” is another highlight (unsurprising given its place in the album title). It has a bit of a doo wop feel with a swing groove and prominent bass and percussion.
And while this album certainly is the band’s most-produced album to date, there’s an undeniable DIY mentality here with hints of bedroom production sprinkled in for good measure. It’s an endearing sort of rawness that feels complementary to the rest of the composition.
“Row” continues this trend of full songs, seeing some of the best songwriting on the record. It’s an introspective track around looking back on your life choices. It’s a call to live in the moment, and it’s anthemic in a sense.
Things close off with “Shaky Cam”, a pretty fun and frenetic track with “mathy” guitar parts. It’s upbeat, layered, rife with fanfare. It has a sense of wonder, one similar to seeing Disney World for the first time as a child. The world feels large and exciting, even if uncertainty still persists. “Shaky Cam” has all the right ingredients for a strong closing track.
With that said, there are a couple tracks that are a bit less compelling. “What Gives?” isn’t bad by any stretch, but it’s a bit of a ballad in a slew of more energetic tracks. The second half of the album is especially spotty in this respect, again opting for more barren, singer-songwriter type trakcs. “Hone” is a bit of a slow burn, with drums coming in at the end. I’d love to hear some of these tracks built out a bit more with the fullness seen on the album’s highlight tracks.
Even still, this is a pleasant turn for this young band that should form as a proper introduction to the trio’s new energetic flavor of songwriting. These songs are undeniably modern, though they toy with nostalgia quite frequently. Both title tracks are great examples of dreamy, indie pop. This is a record that is shrouded in bravado and ambition. Even despite some tracks lagging a bit behind, it’s a balanced record with some of the group’s most captivating songs to date.