My Pet Dragon: Mountains and Cities (Gimme That Sound)

 |   |  1 min read

My Pet Dragon: Moonshine
My Pet Dragon: Mountains and Cities (Gimme That Sound)

About 16 months ago Elsewhere gave a Heads Up on an impending album by this group out of New York (here). As far as I can tell the impending album never arrived . . . but this seems to be it.

A long time in the pot, obviously.

Now a fully formed band around singer-songwriter Todd Michaelsen, this album has a chest-swelling urgency in places which belies its long gestation period. The heroic Love Anthem commands "we need love, we need hope . . . you can't dance on the backs of the poor, you can't dance like that no anymore . . . if you can hear us, we're calling out". With a massive, orchestrated stridency it is hard to turn away from.

Michaelsen is a singer of great expressive power (people have said "Thom Yorke" but he has a more dark tenor boom when required) but is equally at home pulling back to an acoustic ballad (Siren, which you could imagine him singing in a cafe).

There is some of that emotional and sonic breadth of Arcade Fire at work (the Cinerama-pop of Crystal Ball, the throbbing pulse of Flow) but you sense MPD have come to this point by their own route. (Michaelsen's career is certainly interesting if you check that earlier reference.) And they don't shy away from using synth programming as much as electric guitars when the song requires it. (Lightning Inside sounds very Eighties.)

There are subtle references to the Beach Boys' sophisticated sound here (Darling), Michaelsen writes a classy pop song (the older Lover in Hiding still stands in this company) but they also manage to rock out (the power pop of Songbird).

With contributions by members of Mercury Rev and Gov't Mule, and produced by Stephen George of Ministry, this one has guts, sinew and songs. And that's a good, if sometimes breathlessly churning and neo-psychedelic, mix.

Like the sound of this? Then check out this

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Wire: Change Becomes Us (Pink Flag/Southbound)

Wire: Change Becomes Us (Pink Flag/Southbound)

Few bands are worth a biography but Britain's Wire certainly earned the just-published Read & Burn which traces their story from influential post-punk minimalists (the first three albums)... > Read more

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Willie Nelson: Country Music (Rounder)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Willie Nelson: Country Music (Rounder)

Willie Nelson makes so many albums these days – from Western Swing with Asleep at the Wheel and Tex-Mex to jazz stylings with Wynton Marsalis – that it's helpful this title is a... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

100 ESSENTIAL NEW ZEALAND ALBUMS by NICK BOLLINGER

100 ESSENTIAL NEW ZEALAND ALBUMS by NICK BOLLINGER

The purpose of books of lists - and the list of lists is growing by the day -- is probably two-fold: you get to look through and tick off what you've got/done/seen or whatever and make a note of... > Read more

JOHNNY CASH REMEMBERED 2006: Solitary, and singular, man

JOHNNY CASH REMEMBERED 2006: Solitary, and singular, man

The last photographs of Johnny Cash told their own story: the thinning grey hair, the once tough jaw bent out of shape by years of painful dental surgery, the lines which spoke of a... > Read more