img class=”alignleft” src=”https://78.media.tumblr.com/cb94019939c92040333d78681264e40b/tumblr_oczgq9lfGb1r8no6so3_r1_1280.jpg” width=”250em” />While there’s very little ‘new’ in music, clever and expressive bands can still find new ways to make their mark. It’s a concept well understood by Atlanta’s Microwave and implemented wonderfully on their genre-hopping second album, ‘Much Love’.
In fact, ‘Much Love’ exists in a place where genre is almost irrelevant, sitting legs splayed and reclining all over what we would call ‘alternative’ music. There’s flashes of grunge, punk, post-hardcore, post-punk and a hundred other sub-genres, yet Microwave live by their own rules, pinching and pillaging to make an album that hops around as much as mischievous silver-stealing magpie.
Remarkably, it hangs together beautifully, consistently holding your attention like an episodic cliff-hanger in your favourite television drama. Indeed, ‘Much Love’ will have you frequently scratching your head as you try and puzzle out how Microwave got from Point A to Point B with such ease.
Standouts are numerous, but it’s the little flashes that really grab you by the throat; the wigged-out riff on ‘Lighterless’; the half-buried screamed vocals on ‘Bury’; the juxtaposition of irreverent wallet-losing lyrics and breezy, whimsical Shins-lite introduction to ‘Neighbours’. There are so many outstanding little moments you could probably repackage all of them in a different order and still come up with a killer album, such is the frequency and quality of these mini victories.
Occasionally, Microwave play it (relatively) straight to great effect too. The one-two of ‘Drown’ and ‘Vomit’ works as the perfect centrepiece of the album; one tempered and restrained but lyrically poetic, the other building to a furiously cataclysmic crescendo that could well catch you off guard. In fact, the only downer on a consistently excellent album is ‘Roaches, an uninspired opener that does little to show Microwave at their freewheeling best.
’Much Love’ by Microwaveis out on 30 September on SideOneDummy Records.
Words by Rob Mair (@BobNightMair)