Discs From The Desk


Michiale – Life First

At the desk of WPGU was an album with a cover that looked like a cross between the garden-gnome-like characters on the cover of The Decemberists’ The Crane Wife and and Bon Iver’s self titled album. I was obviously intrigued. A leaflet the size of a wallet print made me want to like the 5-track mystery album called Life First by Michiale. And I did. While the album is nothing spectacular, and can even verge on boring thanks to the 23 minute final track, it’s a modestly impressive first record for what little there was for this musician to work with: “one mic, an acoustic guitar, some pots and pans, a 5 gallon water jug, a broken shaker, picket change, the family bells, a bucket, and the cookie tin my Oma gave me.”

One of the main reasons that I appreciate the sounds of Michiale is his utterly unique voice. Like The Tallest Man on Earth, but better. When I listen to The Tallest Man on Earth, I tend to find myself enthralled in the opening, but I find a sour taste in my mouth as soon as the voice comes in. This is an aspect is not present in Michiale’s singing. His voice is quirky enough to make it stand out and give it a memorable quality compared to other up-and-coming artists, but isn’t so unique that it’s acquired and only able to be enjoyed by few. He is the only person who I’ve ever heard that’s reminded me of an eerie dream-catcher, in a really positive, unheard of way.

All of the instrumental stylings are fun, crafty, and naturalistic. The fault is in the ambition. Only musical masterminds akin to Phish, Wilco and Sufjan Stevens can manage to play a song for over 15 minutes without it getting mind-numbingly boring. This can be the downfall of potentially great tracks like “Life First.” It might be an album with few tracks, but it’s not short by any means. As we all know, quality is more important than quantity, and that seems to have been forgotten on Life First.

Rating: W-P-1/2

RIYL: Fleet Foxes, The Tallest Man on Earth, The Mountain Goats

Key Tracks: “I’m A Little Bird Just Takin’ The Worm,” “Life First”

About Emma Goodwin

I’m an English major with a political science and cinema studies minor. When I am not bunking out in my room watching TV and old movies, you can find me drinking too much Diet Coke and making future travel plans.

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