Review Summary: For the air is full of life
Since I started working at Estonia's last all-round record shop a few months ago, my days have been split between soft, usually customer-friendly pop, indie and electronic music during daytime, and harsh metal that I devour on those nights I'm still in the mood for some serious music listening (you can't believe how easily that wish can decrease if you're surrounded by music literally all day long). MiXE1's debut album is fun little thing that suits both times, though. Well, it would suit both times in theory. I mean we don't physically have it at our disposal in the record store and probably won't either. But if we did, I would totally put it on. Starlit Skin
, mainly due to frontman Mike Evans's soothing singing voice, can have quite the calming effect, featuring an atmosphere that suits as both background and foreground music. I could put it on after a long and laborious day to relax, or I could grab an usb cable, stick it to my ipod, and tell my friends as we're cruising around "look, I know you don't really listen to electronic rock, but this here has got a welcoming enough vibe to suit you all." Either way, the album is a fine choice.
It's not the poppy vibe itself that distinguishes MiXE1 from their peers (many electro rock bands sound poppy), it's how sleekly they integrate the worlds of pop, rock, and electronica that counts. The more guitar-heavy parts aren't there just so we could throw a "rock" label on it, much like Starlit Skin
isn't poppy just because that means greater accessibility. On their debut album, MiXE1 have managed to create a formidable mix of styles that sounds very much their own. That is evident in the album's seamless flow – no track, not even a segment of a single track, sounds out of place, as the album washes over the listener like a wave. Even if Evans isn't the greatest of screamers, the tracks he does so in wouldn’t sound the same without screaming; even if the album is at its best when sleepwalking through an airy atmosphere, the heavier sections provide a welcome change of pace regardless; even though the cd's greatest tracks are the two bookends, the rest sounds just as nice, if not as instantly memorable. Starlit Skin
is larger than the sum of its parts – something all great albums are.
Above all, I like Starlit Skin
because it's an honest record that obviously came straight from the heart of the band. It's evocative, vigorous, and the emotions conveyed are real. The passion on display, you can't fake it – listening to the lyrics of the final song "Airwaves" makes it clear how grateful frontman Evans is to be where he's/they're at, regardless of whether the lyrics are part of the album's narrative, or not (It's here in me, in frequency, it resonates I create what I see / And a thank you, you know who, you're the ones that kept me up together / I hope you're proud, and you know I will always remember
). This is an end of an era for him, but as his brainchild has finally taken off, then in the broader scheme of things it's just the beginning. Starlit Skin
may not be a worldbeater, but it will undoubtedly carve a nice little niche for MiXE1, and truthfully, I believe moving a select group of people is all that really matters in the end.