I had to choose wisely on which review should start off 2014. I couldn’t start with just anything. For a while, I’ve had a note in my phone that just says “MisterWives.” I’ll come across it occasionally and sometimes I can’t even remember what it means. But I had the pleasure of seeing MisterWives, kind of by chance. A Manhattan Fitz & the Tantrums concert was being reviewed for a paper I was writing for, and the promoter threw in tickets to see the band Pyyramids. It was a 21+ show, so I had to go in place of the usual reviewer. So it was like a bonus concert to a bonus concert. I found them inherently intriguing in a way most opening bands can only strive to be.
MisterWives, and their new EP “Reflections,” are in the same realm as Grouplove. Their music is soulful and fun, combining many influences at once. The result is a very complex sound made out of relatively easy parts. Each of the six tracks on “Reflections” is centered around easy rhythms on conventional instruments. But while one song sounds soulful, the next is more electro, and when one is vocal heavy, the next is focused on guitar. It’s a surprising balance for an EP of only six songs. They maintain a relaxed, fun and folksy sound throughout the balance.
The standout of the EP is the title track, which relies on some strong vocals. It has a resounding pop vocal harmony over a slightly funky guitar, and it sounds primed for crossover radio. Each track on the album, in it’s own way, sounds ready for radio – it’s telling that all six songs range from 3:06-3:33. But they stand out enough to make for a promising debut. I’m a little ashamed I didn’t get to see their full set now, so I’d like to highly encourage you to seek out MisterWives yourselves. “Reflections” is a fun and carefree release with some genuinely original songwriting.
If you like this, try: Grouplove, whose song “Shark Attack” was #20 on my 2013 list. (Incidentally, Pyyramids also made the list, with “Don’t Go” at #28. That was a productive concert for me.)
-By Andrew McNally