Review of Mi Ami's album 'Watersports'.
Mi Ami bring us Watersports released on Touch and Go/Quartersticks label who have also recently brought us Sholi's debut. Touch and Go have a reputation for bringing us some fantastic left field artists many of whom I enjoy. Quartersticks being a nuturing ground for the more avent garde. So I was interested to hear what Mi Ami had to offer. The first thing I should disclose is that it took me a while to work out it was a man singing and not some crazy woman. I know how deceptive voices can be, and I did know that it was a man listed down as vocals, but I had to do a double take to see if there was a female listed anywhere. There wasn't. Daniel Martin-Mccormick has a desperate urgency to the vocal delivery and at first you're not sure if it's intensely brilliant or exceptionally irritating. Unfortunately they never seem to sit still enough in a groove for long enough to feel like it's anything but exceptionally irritating.
Watersports has moments of a more chaotic antagonistic Yeah Yeah Yeahs feel to it with some of the flare of Quasi. All the things that some may consider to make Watersports a vibrant and exciting album, for me try too hard to take me a little too far out of the realms of reality. I am a fan of alternative and punky sounds and I like things that are prepared to be daring but this doesn't quite hit the mark.
'The Man In Your House' has some free Jazz elements, but it doesn't go far enough into the musicality that they clearly possess. It's a little bit moribund and overly repetitive. The screaming vocals also get a tad ridiculous, it's good to hear/see an artist getting into what they're doing but at times this almost felt indulgent. I didn't get anything from it that felt personal and inspirational. But hey, one mans meat right?
The thing that's most upsetting is that the music on this album is really good but the vocals are shockingly poor. Really really annoying, and some of you may be thinking, this reviewer sounds like a right miserable old witch. I'm really not, I'm a lover not a fighter! Although, perhaps a little passive aggressive. but then I should like Mi Ami more if that is the case.
Eventually by the fifth track I almost find myself completely zoned out from the over and over guitar riff and congo bongo tribal drumming and the relentless screeches of the vocals. Not only has this album angered me, it also started to numb my mind. Slowly sucking out any thoughts of anything but this consuming noise. Now, that might sound appealing to you if your looking for some sort of escapist musical experience, but I would suggest something like Hot Rats from Frank Zappa if you want something that covers the same sort of strange, I don't like this, but I do, its annoying me, but it feels comfortable, the music is simple, but also strangely hypnotic. but Watersports is just rubbish. Strong words, I know. I feel like I'm being overly critical and maybe I could be missing something about it that others may find brilliant. I love the weird and unusual and the uncomfortable. I'm a fan of the more avent garde but this is all a little bit too try hard or at least it feels it. There are moments when it relaxes into itself and Daniel shuts up singing long enough for you to really enjoy the music and the eerie guitars and accompaniments gel together nicely. I almost feel like the album should be a little more restrained. I struggled to listen to the entirety of this album in one sitting. It's perfect album fodder for the rebellious teen who wants to freak their parents out with the sounds coming from their bedroom but I would hope that the more musically experienced will see this for what it is.