Monday, July 01, 2013

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Review: Mr. So & So - Truths, Lies & Half Lies (2013)

Artist: Mr. So & So
Album: Truths, Lies & Half Lies
Year: 2013
Label: Self released

Review: Diego Camargo

Rate: 

Thoughts: Nowadays more and more bands are using the crowdfunding system to get their albums done. It’s a clean and smooth way of being able to record and release your albums being an independent and out of the big media kind of band.
Crowdfunding is another word, at least in the musical world, for pre-order. The difference is that you KNOW that you’re actually helping the band to release a record.

Only in the last 2 years we had Renaissance, 17 Pygmies, Half Past Four, Spock’s Beard, Tom Brislin, Jordan Rudess and Mr. So & So with successful (or almost) crowdfunding campaigns.
It makes you think that you’re responsible for your favorite band releasing a new album, and in some sense, it’s true!

The new Mr. So & So album, Truths, Lies And Half Lies (2013) was crowdfunding through the Pledge Music website and with a great success. The band achieved 16% more pledgers that they needed to.

Mr. So & So is an English band that was actually formed in 1989 by Dave Foster (guitars) and Shaun McGowan (vocals and bass). Throughout the 90’s the band released 3 albums. In 2000 they broke up and the band had no foreseen future.
But during the year 2005 the spark for a Mr. So & So reunion was lit and the band got together again resulting in an album Sugarstealer (2009).

The most recent album, Truths, Lies And Half Lies (2013) was released in May 15 and it’s quite a good puzzle.
Mr. So & So does not play straight Prog Rock. The band is a mix of modern Prog in an interesting way.

The album starts with ‘Paperchase’ a heavy and harsh guitar riff, but not without offering some keyboards by Andy Rigler. A perfect union between heavy Rock and Prog. The second track, ‘Apophis’, brings the mix I was talking about, modern influences but not without letting go the human element of the music.

The third track ‘Truths, Lies & Half-Lies’ is one of my favorites. Mr. So & So has one thing that I always loved in bands, two vocalists. And they use it very efficiently on Truths, Lies And Half Lies (2013). Charlotte Evans (vocals) and Shaun McGowan (codenamed as Magoo in the album) vocals are really perfectly united.


Then the album follows a slower pace, beginning with ‘House Of Dreams’ that is a slow track and didn’t bring anything new. ‘Looking Glass’ has Charlotte in the main vocals for the first time in a piano kind of ballad. A pretty and strong one.
‘Jingo’ is another slower one, but a bit more hypnotic. They were able to take a song that seemed to be too ‘normal’ and gave it a special flavor.

By the time of ‘You’re Coming Home’ I started wondering why so many ballads. The band has a pretty unique sound using heavy elements and some upbeat songs, but somehow ended up buried in ballads during half of Truths, Lies And Half Lies (2013).
‘Breathe’ is no different and then the album starts to go down. Don’t get me wrong, all ballads are good tracks, but is a weird way of doing a tracklist for an album. To have some heavier and faster songs in the beginning and then slower ballads almost till the end.

Only on the 9th song ‘Time For Change’ the band comes back to their initial and, at least for me, more interesting sound. A great track.
‘Compliance’ is a strange mix of modern beats and keyboard collages but also full of vocals.

Truths, Lies And Half Lies (2013) comes in a pretty and simple digipack with an astonishing drawing by Iyan De Jesus and a simple (but with everything that you need) booklet.
‘Please’ closes the album as the longest track with over 10 minutes. A bit too much for a ballad. Also, it’s the song that tries to mix the two band’s elements, the ballads and the heavier/modern sound, but not completely successful. The acoustic ending is the most interesting part.

In general, Mr. So & So's Truths, Lies And Half Lies (2013) is a great album, but it makes me puzzled as I listen to it. It seems I’m listening to two different bands, the one in the 3 initial and 3 final tracks and the one in the other 5 songs.
All in all, it is a very good album that has many details to be busy with while you put your headphones on and forget about the world for a while.
And isn’t that what music is for many of us?

The band was included in our Podcast #19 and you can listen the track 'Truths, Lies & Half Lies' HERE.

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