Cale Michael rose from the ashes of his previous bands’ demise to write, record, and release Melody in Memory, his first solo EP. Hailing from Carstairs, Alberta, Michael aims to mesh alt-country and folk-punk within this project. Let’s hear this.
Oh, no. I’ve recently written about this kind of thing, and it isn’t any easier the second time around. When I’m faced with the task of reviewing something subpar, I become conflicted. Yes, I want to help the artist better themselves by giving them a fair and honest review, but then again, what the hell do I know? All I know, really, is that I don’t know much. As a journalist, it is my duty to be honest and share my opinion, so Mr. Michael, after listening to your EP, I think the first track, “Monachopsis,” (which happens to be one of my favourite words) should have been left out of this recording. The guitar playing is out of time and sounds bad, the singing is out of tune, and the production quality falls below what most people would call a bedroom demo. It sounds like Michael has a lot of good ideas in this first song, which sadly failed to make a good impression on me.
A spoken word outro leads to the next track which sounds much better! The production takes a gigantic leap forward on “Coastline,” opening with a great sounding slide guitar performed by Dylan Keating. There’s also the addition of drums and bass guitar, handled by Jay Bradley and Cale Michael, respectively. I guess the band opted not to play with a click; there are slow downs and speed ups during the song sadly making the track sound sloppy executed. The drum fills and guitar strumming need tightening, and the bass parts are some of the least inspired I’ve heard this year. Just like the previous song, the singing is out of tune and is too nasal for my liking. The song itself bored me with its repeating musical themes. Next is “Nevada,” and it sees the addition of a Hammond organ simulation performed by Wil Moralda. “Nevada” sounds a lot like the previous song: the same guitar strumming pattern, the same out of tune singing, and the same overall repetitiousness bored me. “West Coast Blues” closes this EP with a ballad-like groove played with an acoustic and slide guitar. Other than that, there sadly isn’t much else to write about that I haven’t already mentioned.
Cale Michael, I am sorry to have to write this. I know you tried, and I can tell you put your heart into this. My advice: take singing lessons, practice with a metronome (both by yourself and as a band, and definitely have the drummer listen to the click in his headphones), then get out there and play as many shows as you possibly can. Go dissect your favourite songs and find out why you love them and hire a producer who can help guide your songwriting for future efforts. Also, I highly recommend you track your drums in a studio and look up videos on Youtube on how to record guitars and bass (the link at the bottom is a great resource of information, and on top of that, the guy is hilarious). Lastly, hire professionals to mix and master your tracks. I’ve released demo-quality stuff in the past and what I’ve come to realize is that it’s all part of the learning process. Best of luck.
Written by Dave Tone
*edited by Danielle Kenedy