Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mickey the Jump at Flying M Coffeegarage

Posted By on Tue, Nov 16, 2010 at 4:56 PM

Mickey the Jump is a curious name for an indie folk band. It evokes images of lovable gangsters in pinstriped suits rolling dice and wielding straight-razors. But watching their set instead made me think of nu-metal megastars Linkin Park, a potentially curious comparison considering the two bands couldn't sound much further apart.

But the first time I heard Linkin Park, what I heard was that moment when the formula had been perfected: take a metal-toned 7-string guitar and coat it with two parts angry rap, garnish with angsty melody, back it with sampled drums for the verse and ultra-heavy live drums for the chorus, turn the EQ settings like so, and there you have it: a nu-metal record. Repeat ad nauseum. Their style became nothing more than a recipe, followed exactly for the best results.

In kind, Mickey the Jump has done their research. They've got the chamber-pop instrumentation, the starry-eyed delivery of sensitively crafted songs about their feelings, the near-whispered lead vocals as if every song is a secret intended just for you, the spastically enthusiastic bass player, the awkward between-song banter, even the matching plaid shirts. They nailed every element with serious savvy. The songs moved and changed rather than shifting listlessly back and forth from verse to chorus and back again. The musicianship on display was made more impressive in that it maintained across multiple instruments. The love the band had for each and every note was tangible.

There are plenty of bands that Mickey the Jump sounds like, but it's hard to pin that sound down. I just kept thinking of Linkin Park. Not the band as much as that moment when you realize there's a clear recipe to be followed for that sound.

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