The Mile
Impossible Figures


4.0
excellent

Review

by Jack Mancuso CONTRIBUTOR (54 Reviews)
March 19th, 2021 | 18 replies


Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: We're just kids, isn't it absurd / To think that maybe one of us would have a way with words?

The power of nostalgia is still a mystery to me, and it probably always will be. I’m more likely to feel nostalgic about the things I missed out on or never had, as opposed to what I cherished in my past life. Perhaps it can be boiled down to my brain’s incessant dreaming up of possibilities, and the backwards sensation that wanting is often better than having. What’s truly fascinating is looking back on the moments of my life where I’ve felt the most viscerally happy, and realizing that they were moments of anticipation rather than satisfaction. The Mile’s “Impossible Figures” is this feeling encapsulated in some of the most anthemic pop rock of the 2010s.

The Mile were a two-piece band from Chicago, and “Impossible Figures” is their sole release, unleashed onto the scene in 2015 and drifting determinedly among a sea of weightless records released in the aftermath of The 1975’s self-titled album. While countless uninspired groups shamelessly emulate the Manchester quartet’s self-aggrandizement and ‘80s pastiche, “Impossible Figures” is propulsive yet entirely modern, a record that overflows with energy and still sounds fresh six years after the fact. The Mile expertly capitalize on the emerging pop trends of the time by juxtaposing painfully nostalgic lyricism against their grandiose hooks and driving rhythms. For a band with only two members, their sound is powerful, densely layered, and displays a clear mastery of sonic world building. The album’s first full-length track “Headlights” demonstrates this in spades, riding the steady crescendo of its dueling keyboard and guitar leads to a chorus so soaring it must be heard to be believed. Matt Bolman’s vocal performance across the whole album is worthy of considerable praise, but on “Headlights” in particular, where he is tasked with maintaining high pitches at powerful volumes while rarely being permitted to stop for a breath.

Instrumentally, the album hardly lets up from there. The climaxes of “Gold” and “Lost” somehow manage to rival the seismic hook of “Headlights”, while keyboardist Dominic Pierri is able to shine on gentler cuts like “Sleep”, “Numb”, and the title track, a soothing instrumental interlude where he steps fully into the spotlight. Bolman’s syncopated and funk-laden guitar riffs breathe carefree life into lead single “Let Go” and the brilliant “Hide”, while also managing to lift the aforementioned “Gold” to absurd heights. Bolman’s exceptional vocal lines and the exemplary instrumentation all coalesce on album highlight “Thursday”, the gorgeous centerpiece of “Impossible Figures”. Slowly emerging from an enthralling two-minute buildup, this track handpicks every aspect of what makes The Mile’s songwriting great and utilizes them all perfectly, while also being the album’s lyrical highlight.

Both members of The Mile were under 20 years old when this album was released, which explains this record’s greatest stumbling block, the raw and unpolished nature of the lyricism. All of “Impossible Figures” revolves around the narrative of a broken relationship, which is sometimes described in a heart-wrenching and wistful manner, like on “Thursday”, “Sleep”, or “Gold”. The band’s greatest weakness as songwriters is their tendency to repeat themselves, not only across the record but sometimes even in the same song. I don’t know who this album was written about, but she must have had really pretty eyes because sometimes they’re all the band can sing about. Simple lines found throughout such as “Though I want to, I cannot stay” are run into the ground by the album’s end, which is unfortunate because the band show themselves to be more than capable of exploring their own in depth emotions toward the situation on two or three tracks. Unfortunately, this introspective style of writing is used sparingly. Album closer “Speechless” combines the worst of both worlds, featuring the album’s most underwhelming lyrics coupled with the only lifeless instrumental arrangement The Mile offer up over the course of the album. Choosing this as the album’s final song also takes a sledgehammer to the kneecap of the album’s momentum. “Gold” would have served as a far superior closing track, not only because of its phenomenal energy, but also because of its thematic tie-ins with opening interlude “Cope”.

It’s a shame that “Impossible Figures” is the only record The Mile released, because it showcases a band with a wonderfully bright future. Any self-produced debut can be expected to be a bit rough around the edges, and the work on display here is nothing but commendable for being done by two college-age men entirely on their own. While the lyricism occasionally falls flat and the tracklist contains one definite misstep, “Impossible Figures” is a mostly consistent and always interesting debut album with stellar production and high entertainment value.



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user ratings (4)
4.1
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
YoYoMancuso
Contributing Reviewer
March 19th 2021


13792 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

don't know why the album artwork isn't showing up, but hopefully that gets fixed soon. Either way, highly recommend this album!



Spotify link: https://open.spotify.com/album/4rLBXL9il5E11WV8zlVHj2?si=-X-eypEeTsG5_4naQJ-ssA

Digging: My Bloody Valentine - m b v

Bilbodabag
March 19th 2021


22 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Love this album. Hope this gets the attention it deserves

Bilbodabag
March 19th 2021


22 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Also great review. Pretty much agree with everything you said. Would be a 4.5 if not for the closer

YoYoMancuso
Contributing Reviewer
March 19th 2021


13792 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks dawg, would love for some more Sput users to hear this

Ecnalzen
March 25th 2021


10650 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Headlights is a nice little tune



oooo, and Let Go is even better

YoYoMancuso
Contributing Reviewer
March 26th 2021


13792 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm glad you checked this out Ec, so many bangers

Ecnalzen
March 27th 2021


10650 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'll have to finish it today or tomorrow



Def liked the sampling of it I listned to yesterday

Ecnalzen
April 3rd 2021


10650 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is kinda gorgeous



Like damn

YoYoMancuso
Contributing Reviewer
April 4th 2021


13792 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

happy to hear you're digging it brother, this album always puts a pep in my step

Ecnalzen
April 4th 2021


10650 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh yeah, I am a little more into it ever time I listen, it seems



Thanks for reviewing some lesser known stuff! Always nice to catch on to obscure little gems like this

YoYoMancuso
Contributing Reviewer
April 4th 2021


13792 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

for sure bro, this is a slightly different situation because i know this band irl, but i'm always down to profile underground artists

Ecnalzen
April 5th 2021


10650 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh, that's cool. So, is there any particular reason this is a one off album?



I am impressed this was self produced. Like damn, the production is so rich

Ecnalzen
April 5th 2021


10650 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Aw, feck, I dropped it .1 with my 4

YoYoMancuso
Contributing Reviewer
April 5th 2021


13792 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

as far as i know there's always been something "in the works" and i've heard a few demos over the years that are really good, nothing officially released though : (

Ecnalzen
April 5th 2021


10650 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Fingers crossed for something official soon!

Ecnalzen
April 12th 2021


10650 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Purchased/dloaded this



Now I am really hoping there is a follow up

YoYoMancuso
Contributing Reviewer
April 13th 2021


13792 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

love that Ec, way to support small artists!

Ecnalzen
April 14th 2021


10650 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I was really surprised they didn't have a bandcamp, unless I just couldn't find it



Hopefully, my buying it from Amazon still got to them



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