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CD REVIEW: Mike Meier - Tallmansville

By:  Levi Canfield

 

 

 

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Artist: Mike Meier
Album: Tallmansville
Label: Independent Artist
Website:
www.myspace.com/themikemeier
Genre: Alternative/Country/Rock
Sounds Like: Arnold Schwarzenegger goes country

Technical Grade: 3/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 4/10
Commercial Value: 4/10
Overall Talent Level: 4/10
Songwriting Skills: 3/10
Performance Skill: 3/10
Best Songs: Tallmansville
Strengths: Electric Guitar Leads

Weakness: Vocal Harmonization, Lyrics

CD REVIEW:

Tallmansville is as Mike Meier put it, “A straight up rock record”. Which at the album’s core rings true. Pulling from many different influences (American Folk, Latin, Classical, and Heavy Euro Industrial) Mike has strangled his own take on a generally formulated genre. Starting from the first track to the albums final 17th, Mike Meier put his classical guitar training into use and his thick German influences into the mix.

The album’s strongest song lyrically and instrumentally is without a doubt the self titled track. The earnest American folk behind “Tallmansville” not only has a strong pulsing rhythm, but also sidesteps Mr. Meier’s THICK German accent by cutting down on the singing and keeping half of the song spoken. The thumping bass keeps you’re foot thumping the entire 5 minutes of the track. Mike Meier’s classical guitar training is apparent on this song, and throughout the course of the album. One of the strongest constants on Tallmansville is Mikes ear for writing strong guitar melodies. Even when Mike is scrambling through genre shifts that seem unusual or singing off-key, he still manages to at least keep a strong pace for the rhythm section to follow. The production, mixing, and mastering of the CD are all done superbly and the CD’s presentation is top notch. It even contains a pull out containing lyrics and studio pictures all while being done professionally. In terms of getting everything up to the vocals well, the album succeeds. After Mike opens his baritone chords, does the falling point begin.

Mike Meier’s deeply polarizing voice is the undertow that brings this album completely under. The vocals find strong comparisons to stale crackers. Both are dry, flat, and slightly disconcerting. Rather than actually singing, instead Mike puts an inflection at the end of every word to know when the lines over. Mike only brings further attention to his vocals on the duets during the album. When he’s just by himself, there is room to question; but when Lynn Veronneau adds in her sweet siren, there is no doubt to the sludge in Mike’s voice. To make matters worse, the lyrics sound even more hackneyed. The entire cd generally falls into either abab or aabb the entire time. With elementary rhymes such as “shore/door”, “wave/save”, and “shipwreck/deck” (all from the some song!) it’s no wonder that this album sounds like a boat lost at sea. Without the vocals to point the rhythm section anywhere, Tallmansville is rowing with one paddle. The boorish lyrics and grating vocals make this album too rudimentary to even garner listening at times.

Overall a very underwhelming album. Despite all his technical learning’s for music theory and song composition, nothing can save this record from Mike Meier’s vocals. His thick, hard German accent really makes listening a struggle. Flawless solo’s and the pretty voice of Lynn are the two things keeping this album afloat. Tallmansville was a strong turn for Mike Meier, but that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the road.

Levi Canfield

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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