27 October 2010

My My My, Leather Silk (2010): Album Review

You can find a lot of things on Craigslist—unwanted furniture, broken-down cars, and even one-night stands. What songwriter Russel Baylin found, though, was his band. Through the aid of both the Internet and friends of friends of friends, Baylin was able to form the band My My My during the winter of 2007 in Chicago, Illinois. This indie group has been playing throughout the Midwest ever since—blissfully expressing the throes of love, sex, and death. They’ve finally released their new album, Leather Silk, and I honestly have no words for what a brilliant record it is.

They begin with “A Shiny Brick,” which starts out quite lively although it becomes a bit repetitive midway through with the constant “oh-oh-oh’s.” The voices of Russel and fellow singer Sarah Snow mesh together wonderfully though, and are complimented by some gospel-esque backup that could come across sounding cliché, but actually aids the song tremendously. “White Lions” begins with the same kick that the first tune does, and is reminiscent of the style so associated with Florence and the Machine—wailing female vocals by Ms. Snow, with rousing but difficult-to-distinguish lyrics. “Be My Bianca” has an easy-going vibe on a whole but features foot-stomping shouts of teenage angst mixed throughout. It gets especially joyful towards the end when the entire group begins chanting together—and damn, Sarah has a voice that can raise rafters. It’d truly be awesome to hear her perform live. The title song “Leather Silk” has a really funky sound to it—beginning with choppy, upbeat piano chords, and merging into more classic rock terrain. I don’t even know what to say, except that I was completely entranced the entire 4 minutes and 26 seconds of the tune—certainly the best song of the album, which is saying a whole lot. This exhilaration is carried into “Swoon,” which sounds like ABBA got stuck in some haunted house with a drum kit and guitars. The song evokes some really eerie beats, but is also quite cheerful at the same time. “Jackie’s Rebellion In Furs” is fine but wasn’t my favorite song for no particular reason…it just doesn’t have the whimsical qualities of the many tunes preceding it. The group more than redeems themselves with “C’mon Let’s Make X’s With Our Feet.” With all the cool electronics and stirring chorus vocals aside, it really made me happy to hear Baylin get to show off his extraordinary vocal finesse. He is frankly better than all those other “wailers” out there, and I rather hear him howl out a tune any day over the likes of Daughtry or Nickelback. And how fitting it is to get to hear Russel and Sarah belting their hearts out on the duet, “The Loudest Summer.” I know I keep saying this over and over, but their voices together are perfect—I can’t think of a more ideal duo. They bring in the entire group for “Thespian,” which is another pulsating melody dripping with defiance and unruliness that can’t stop from bringing a smile to my face. Sadly, the album has to come to an end with “1987, ”which is both exciting and bittersweet. It’s not really a sad song by any means, but something about all the tune’s elements flawlessly crescendoing together tugged at my emotions—there is no better possible way they could’ve ended the record.

All I can really say is “wow.” I was completely not expecting to love My My My this much. I highly recommend this album to anyone and everyone. I definitely can see myself listening to this on a regular basis—and not just a few of the songs, the entire album on a whole is magnificent. I would be thrilled to see them in concert someday, and cannot emphasize enough the thrill I attained by listening to Leather Silk. Do your ears a favor and follow suit.

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