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 at Elsewhere articles index

Late Model European: It's Time (LME/digital outlets)

Late Model European: It's Time (LME/digital outlets)

Two points of interest in this appropriately entitled album: it is the debut from this local pop-rock duo of Tones Thorburn and John Nelson (and friends) and it is also one of the first vinyl... > Read more

The Four Fours; Complete Singles 1963-66. Human Instinct and the Four Fours; 1983-68 (both Frenzy)

The Four Fours; Complete Singles 1963-66. Human Instinct and the Four Fours; 1983-68 (both Frenzy)

While talking with a friend, who knows a lot about all kinds of New Zealand music, we agreed that not every local band was great and not every album a Kiwi classic. Despite what... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

EPs by Yasmin Brown

EPs by Yasmin Brown

With so many CDs commanding and demanding attention Elsewhere will run this occasional column by the informed and opinionated Yasmin Brown. She will scoop up some of those many EP releases, in... > Read more

GRAMSCI, REVIEWED (2020): Sobering thoughts for staging a show

GRAMSCI, REVIEWED (2020): Sobering thoughts for staging a show

Many weeks ago during the second Covid lockdown in Auckland, Paul McLaney – mainman behind his Gramsci project – spoke via Zoom to my third-year music at Auckland university. I... > Read more