Mike O’Neill, Wild Lines
It has been eight years since Mike O’Neill released his critically acclaimed sophomore, Owl; he started recording the follow-up back in 2007 but then landed a gig composing and recording music for the Gemini award-winning French Food at Home. The time-off from having to make a living solely as a full-time musician allowed O’Neill to get more involved in the recording process and really capture what he was hearing in his head.
Opening track, “This is Who I Am” brings to mind O’Neill’s old band, The Inbreds, with its distinct vocal phrasing, and solid bass n’ drum interplay. Second track, “Henry” almost slips by without notice, but with a pair of headphones, reveals its layers; not to mention some fantastic drum work. “Henry” is followed up with my favourite track, a power-pop gem called “Colin”. Other highlights are not so easy to describe. “Don’t Forget To Breathe” really builds into the moment – I’m not quite sure what that moment is supposed to be – but I get the feeling that we have all had times where someone could have reminded us to breathe.
Wild Lines is a brilliant pop album that soothes the soul with imaginative arrangements and heartfelt stories. What I love most about it though, is how effortless the album feels as each song naturally complements the other while still experimenting with new sounds mixed into that classic East Coast pop. (Independent) ~ 4 Stars