Review: Microwave – Much Love

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.

4/5

’Much Love’ by Microwaveis out on 30 September on SideOneDummy Records.

Microwave links: Facebook|Twitter|Bandcamp

Words by Rob Mair (@BobNightMair)

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