Dan Miraldi. Devil at Our Heels.
DM Experience This Music, 2013. Dan Miraldi: http://www.danmiraldi.com/
Dan Miraldi continues to build both his recorded output and his reputation as a roots rocker. This EP makes yet another case that he combines power pop from several decades in new and interesting ways. I hear elements from the 1950s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and contemporary rock all in the same song (the 90s not so much). This album was recorded in Nashville in five days, during a tour break. Hard working folks.
There’s plenty to say about Miraldi, but let me start with the band. They are really tight, very focused, and reveal a high level of accomplishment. If Dan wasn’t singing, I’d still listen to the band, because they’re that good; solid rockers with a fine sound. There’s no credit for the background vocals, but they work very well in songs like “Lovebomb!” As for Miraldi, he sounds pretty much the same as his last time out, a bell-ringing tenor with a rockabilly sense of articulation and rhythm combined with modern sensibilities. In that sense he reminds me of Chris Isaak, although their voices are very different, but both have this timeless quality that is pretty rare. He has changed since his first album, with a more mature, stronger sound to his singing.
The songs are all potential hits, without a loser in the bunch. “Untame” opens as if it’s the mid-80s, with an arena-rock riff, then launches into a fine power-pop love song. The next track starts as a soft ballad, with echo chamber effects and tinkling piano, then about halfway through blows the doors off with a loud chorus. There are some psychedelic, Beatles-era effects tucked in there too. The title track is a strong one, maybe the strongest, with some really good guitar work. I could see this one being covered. “Asking Her to Stay” is a straight ahead power pop tune that I really enjoyed. “Lovebomb!” is the longest song on the EP, and continues in the same vein with rhythm changes and other tricks that kept me listening. The group closes with an uptempo rocker that closes out with handclaps, harmonies, and making me want to hear more.
Miraldi is getting better with each outing, bringing in new ideas, expanding his sound palette, and growing as an artist. I think you can tell I like the artist and the band. But enough with the EPs! Let’s have another full-length album!
Personnel: Dan Miraldi (vocals, guitars, keys, composer), Alex Bowers (guitar), Joe LaGuardia (bass), Sarah Luffred (drums), John Deaderick (guest musician).
Tracks: Untame; Girl, You Made Your Mark; Devil at Our Heels; Asking Her to Stay; Lovebomb!, I Still Wish She Was Mine.
The Grand Wazoo