There's something about Jon McKiel's new album that is
a bit reminiscent of the '90s. Not the flannel wearing Seattle
bands you're prone to think of, but the chunky guitars and general
overall tone of that era. Plus, McKiel's voice sounds a lot like
Glen Phillips of Toad The Wet Sprocket; quintessential
The Nature Of Things kicks off with "War On You"
- a great opener that foreshadows what's in store, with guitars,
horns, and a little heartbreak. "1 2 3 My Friends" follows
and boasts Whiskeytown harmonies and a snare drum that
sounds like it was recorded in someone's garage. The same follows
for the majority of the album.
One thing you won't find is a shortage of sad, lonely lyrics.
McKiel seems like he's going through some shit. You have to
wonder what his music would sound like if things were coming
up roses. Lyrically, it's obvious that he's writing from a pretty
unhappy place. "Walking With The Dead" gives itself
away with its title and almost seems to be a plea to a friend
- "Don't die."
McKiel does a great job bouncing between single acoustic guitars
and full bands and all of it sounds really well produced. "Get
Caught" and "Stars Get Their Courage" are good
examples. McKiel even gives a shout out to his partnership with
the Culture Division of the Nova Scotia Department of Tourism,
Culture & Heritage. And who wouldn't?
I have to say my only gripe about this album is the hidden
track. It's one thing to have an unlisted bonus song tacked
on but I think we can do away with the old-school hidden track
buried beneath 12 minutes of silence. Right? It's probably the
most annoying thing to have come up on your ipod. And it's even
worse when the song at the beginning is good, because then you
don't want to delete it. But the hidden track is some half-baked
b-side. Such is the case here where the acoustic never meets
its accompaniment and McKiel goes on about "a bird in the
valley" while digital bird sound effects chirp in the background.
Otherwise, great album.
e-mail the chief
Like this article?
it to a friend!