I the Mighty
Connector


4.0
excellent

Review

by DaveyBoy STAFF
June 5th, 2015 | 282 replies


Release Date: 06/02/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Far from being rock’s saviors, but surely Wikipedia worthy now!

There’s been a lot of hyperbole concerning “the death of rock music” and bands “saving rock’n’roll” of late, and while most of the talk borders on nonsense, wouldn’t it be great if an act such as I the Mighty could revitalize this much-loved genre" In truth, the San Franciscan quartet are far from being the super-heroes that will save our day (you would at least need a Wikipedia page for that), but one could argue that their style of music takes in such a broad cross-section of sub-genres, that it should theoretically attract a large audience. Just remember that even following the 2003 release of ‘Absolution’, no-one thought that Muse would be filling stadiums just a few years later. And while I the Mighty don’t exactly sound like the English trio, they actually share many of that band’s traits… A fact highlighted by their excellent third LP ‘Connector’.

Beginning with the reverse concept-hinting ‘An Epilogue as a Prologue’, the Mike Green (Paramore, Pierce the Veil, All Time Low) produced ‘Connector’ begins in a fashion that is diametrically opposed to its predecessor ‘Satori’. Instead of the fiery, aggressive opening heard on the band’s 2013 offering, an atmospheric scene is immediately set here, as gentle guitar strums back Brent Walsh’s contemplative vocals. It isn’t long, however, before the quartet hit their trademark groove, fusing relatively catchy alt-rock with frequent blasts of intense post-hardcore and progressive technicality (see ‘Psychomachia’ and second single ‘Adrift’). The majority of the album’s first half acts as a natural evolution from the band’s past releases, with each tune subtly emphasizing one quality over another to add sufficient diversity - the poppier sensibilities of ‘The Lying Eyes of Miss Erray’ being a prominent example. Side-A, as such, is bookended by the methodically paced ‘Slow Dancing Forever’; a haunting and heartbreaking tune which is certain to make many do a double-take on its lyrics, once its synth-driven melody and programmed beat become accustomed to.

In many ways, ‘Slow Dancing Forever’ is where the aforementioned link to Muse’s ‘Absolution’ begins, with the back half of ‘Connector’ taking listeners on a roller-coaster ride of sound, themes and emotions. Individual tunes are certain to be divisive, yet somehow work well together. Furthermore, the diversity displayed over the closing half-dozen tracks, genuinely stretches each and every band member, resulting in some thoroughly impressive performances. Walsh’s versatile and exemplary vocal range especially passes each examination - outshining Max Bemis on the better than initially seems ‘Friends,’ and recalling everyone from Savage Garden to Maroon 5 before a throat-shredding outro on ‘(No) Faith in Fate’. The funky latter track and hooky ‘The Hound and the Fox’ also tests the consistently superb rhythm section, while Ian Pedigo’s lead guitar-work gloriously adapts to each situation with ear-catching detail. Pleasingly, it’s all brilliantly wrapped up by closer ‘The Frame I: Betrayal in the Watchtower’; a five minute tour de force that encompasses most of what has occurred on the previous eleven tracks, in rousing fashion.

Just to clarify; ‘Connector’ will not save rock music, and is no ‘Absolution’… Hell, it’s not even ‘Satori’, with the highlights here marginally falling short of their predecessor’s equivalents. Clocking in at some seven minutes less, ‘Connector’ is tighter than ‘Satori’, yet a little less focused. Some of this has to do with its more outward-looking lyrical themes, while the remainder could be attributed to the band being unwilling to stagnate, and intent on showcasing their song-writing growth and meticulous attention to detail. It is predominantly these latter qualities which make I the Mighty a band to root for in their continued search for that difficult balance of accessibility and technicality. On ‘Connector’, the accomplished quartet have recorded an immersive album that is not only satisfying in the moment, but also reveals further layers and textures upon subsequent listening. At the very least, they’re surely Wikipedia worthy now!

Recommended Tracks: The Frame I: Betrayal in the Watchtower, Psychomachia, Adrift & Friends.



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user ratings (204)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
paradox1216 EMERITUS (4)
I the Mighty stay the course Satori set them on and give us their most accessible album yet, but no ...

Ebola (5)
Ain't it grand?...

cocopunk1486 (4.5)
Album of the year?...


Comments:Add a Comment 
DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
June 4th 2015


22454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Apologies if this reads a little awkward and/or cluttered at times, but the review went through many re-writes and even a scrapping or two.

I couldn't find anything on SoundCloud & BandCamp from this album, so here are my 2 highlights from YouTube:

The Frame I: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sfq4aXf5CX0

Psychomachia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivVbOp61Fuc





SowingSeason
Moderator
June 4th 2015


25033 Comments


This is a quality write-up, as usual. I'm still not quite understanding the context of the Muse reference, other than that this band might blow up just like they did after Absolution? I guess when the vocalist draws out his notes he sounds a tiny bit like Bellamy. But otherwise, this read very smoothly especially if you scrapped and rewrote parts. I listened to some previews and remembered bookmarking it; I guess this is a sign I should go back to it soon.

Digging: Brand New - Science Fiction

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
June 4th 2015


22454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm not even sure that I've fully got my head around the Muse reference Sowing. What I was mainly getting at, I guess, was it would be great if a band that had diversity & a few eccentricities (relative to the mainstream, of course) revitalized rock music. I mean, I love The Fooeys, but they're pretty much playing straight rock music when all is said & done. But that may be a diiscussion best held back for 'Sputnik Discusses'.

Other than that, the comparison also refers to how both this album & 'Absolution' are a little all over the place, yet somehow work as a whole.

SowingSeason
Moderator
June 4th 2015


25033 Comments


Oh that makes sense. Yeah there really aren't many "rock" bands out there still making waves, which is a shame.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
June 4th 2015


22454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That was actually one of my scrapped versions; a humongous opening paragraph where I went through about 6-8 bands that have made waves over the past decade, why they fell away (from a mainstream/chart perspective) & what type of band could pick up the baton for RAWK.

kmace
June 4th 2015


161 Comments


Nice review and pretty sweet album! I remember Satori didn't really click with me after the first listen but it ended up being one of my favorite albums so we'll see where this ends up. Are you gonna review the new Emery album Davey?

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
June 4th 2015


22454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I don't think this is the type of band that will always click after only one listen... Which is probably why they will never be super successful unfortunately.



Nah, kmace. Me & Emery together could bring the Sputnik server down, so I will pass this time around. I will give the new LP a listen and rating some time in the next month or two though.

Toondude10
June 4th 2015


11599 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Upset that these guys still don't have a wikipedia page? Same thing goes for Too Close to Touch I'm sure XD



Good review as always. Pretty sweet album, enjoyed it a lot more than I was expecting to.

Digging: Face The King - Once More Is All I Am

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
June 4th 2015


22454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The difference being that TCtT only have 1 LP & 1 EP. This is I the Mighty's 3rd LP and they have a couple of substantial EPs to go with them as well.

kmace
June 4th 2015


161 Comments


Well with Satori it was heavier than I was expecting after Karma Never Sleeps and so I had to adjust a bit. Then with this, songs like Slow Dancing Forever and (No) Faith in Fate felt out of place but now it is all sounding pretty great and cohesive. Psychomachia and Lady of Death are current standouts.

I figured there must have been some reason why you hadn't yet but that's probably best. I was pleasantly surprised with that album although I was expecting a train wreck going in to it.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
June 4th 2015


22454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That "felt out of place" comment you made is spot on. It's just a matter of patience and seeing through the surface of those particular tracks.



I was joking re: the server excuse. I dunno, just bad timing with a few other reviews I had on the go. Even this one got posted after the release date, which is rare for me.

paradox1216
Emeritus
June 4th 2015


730 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Yeah I doubt ITM will ever fill arenas, as I don't see them abandoning the more thoughful and dense (i.e. takes a few listens to appreciate fully) side of their music, even though they are good at making firey, immediate singles.



Also, great review Davey, we got at many of the same points indeed

paradox1216
Emeritus
June 4th 2015


730 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I was really honestly thinking about starting a Wiki page for these guys earlier...I'm just too lazy -_-

paradox1216
Emeritus
June 4th 2015


730 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I was really honestly thinking about starting a Wiki page for these guys earlier...I'm just too lazy -_-

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
June 4th 2015


22454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks Double D.



Right now, I agree that ItM will probably never fill arenas, but my Muse comparison holds: Not many would have felt that Muse would fill stadiums after 'Origin of Symmetry' either.



Let's all boycott wiki.

skoopy48
June 5th 2015


1878 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cool review, album is catchy

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
June 5th 2015


22454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks skoopy. Lots of 4.0s for this album.



"Catchy" is a relative term. I don't think they'll be climbing the charts or anything. For instance, is this catchier than Imagine Dragons? Damn it, sorry, I'm still on that point of my opening paragraph!

TooLateToGoBack
June 5th 2015


1953 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Loving this album just as much as Satori, if not more.



"Playing Catch With .22" has been stuck in my head for days.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
June 5th 2015


22454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I rate it just below 'Satori', but we're talking 0.1 out of 5 just below.



I love the backing vocals in 'Playing Catch With .22', but I only rank that as the 6th best song here, which is saying something about the high quality of this LP since I'm usually drawn to lead singles with rock albums.

TooLateToGoBack
June 5th 2015


1953 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, the backing vocals are definitely the highlight on that track. Glad the Frame 1 didn't disappoint, and ended up closing the album in spectacular fashion.



Glad to see you back on the post-hxc reviewing train, Davey. Have you listened to the new Emery record?



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