CD REVIEW: Voxmirage - Voxmirage
by: Cyrus Rhodes
Genre: Alternative Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Sonic Pop Rock
Sounds Like: The Verve, Radiohead, Snow Patrol, Fall Out Boy, The Killers, The Strokes, The Rembrandts, They Might Be Giants, Franz Ferdinand, Maroon 5, Lindsey Buckingham, Fleetwood Mac, Pet Shop Boys, Simply Red, Culture Club
Weakness: Winded Songs, more solo segments
(SEATTLE) Voxmirage’s debut is the songwriting and recordings of Mike Streng and Aaron Nicholes. Mike is a classically trained vocalist who early on sang tenor in a jazz octet and has even performed Italian opera. Mike began playing guitar at age 8 and at age 16 performed with the legendary B.B. King. As a Seattle native, Mike spent the better part of his life immersed in Seattle’s rich music scene performing, writing and recording his craft. In spite of the fact that Mike has spent many years in and out of Seattle recording studios including the infamous Heart studio, ‘Bad Animals’ and has recorded 6 albums that were never released, Voxmirage is Mike’s debut release. CD was Mixed & Produced at Le Son du Blé, Paris by, KEN STRINGFELLOW of the Posies & R.E.M. Mastered at ABBEY ROAD STUDIOS in London. Voxmirage features Streng (Vocals, guitars, bass, Keyboards) and Nicholes (Drums, Keyboards, Programming, Vocals, Bass).
First up Track 1 methodical “Intro” and Track 2 “All I Want is You” serves up an enticing guitar ridden groove meshed against hypnotic lyrical content, strong melody and impressive harmonies meshed against rock steady rhythm and inviting melody from Streng. This intro track sets the tone rather well for a melodic yet rocking CD like this. Track 3 “I can’t Take It” (Any More Than This)” keeps it moving in the right direction with soothing melody that continues to build into a passionate yet psychedelic sonic-pop-rock statement complete with impassioned vocal presence and a dynamic musical flow. Track 4 “Hold On” serves up yet another superb rock steady groove with thought provoking lyrical content that flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. As these songs slowly unfolded I could hear many musical influences reminiscent of classic The Verve, Radiohead, Snow Patrol, Fall Out Boy, The Killers, The Strokes, The Rembrandts, They Might Be Giants, Franz Ferdinand and MArron 5. On the otehr side of the sonic spectrum I can even hear traces of Lindsey Buckingham, Fleetwood Mac, Pet Shop Boys, Simply Red, Culture Club. Sometimes Streng reminds me of a modern day Lindsey Buckingham (Fleetwood Mac). I would classify this music as melodic Sonic Pop, Alternative Rock, with a slight aftertaste of Psychedelic Pop. The songs themselves are addictive, eccentric, fascinating, and very interesting - all reflections of thes two no doubt. One can't notice intellectual, passionate and powerful subject matter delivered between the spoken word, with a heavy dose of raw truth and bi-polar vocal emotions that are powerful. The musicianship from all members are rock solid across the board. Streng/Nicholes showcase rock solid production instants throughout. Besides the 4 piece standard you will also notice things like thick low end beats and rhythms, melodic keyboards and synthesizers, piano, solo guitar, Horns, Organ, synthetic sound effects and lush harmonies all built upon a thick as a brick rhythm section. Streng has amazing finesse, power, control and intensity throughout all vocal performances. Equally as impressive is the how well this band makes the distinct and strong (singer to listener) vocal connection. Once again sometimes he reminds me of Lindsey Buckingham. His vocal style works with respect to this style of music with its stereotypical electro-rock ultra clean musical delivery.Nicholes delivers effective drumming, keyboards, vocals, bass and programming, and his harmonies go well with Streng's timbre. What I like most about the music is its passion filled love-themed intellectualism and consistency. Music is quite dynamic as you never really know what's around the corner. All engineering aspects check out. Music possesses solid low end punch and crystal clear high end clarity. By track 5 the CD hits solid stride dishing out many impressive pieces back to back. To grooving “Never Go Away” to rocking “She’s Going Away” to heartfelt “Just a Fool” to grooving “My Favorite Sin” to classic Lindsey Buckingham remake “Go Insane” this CD has something for just about everyone. CD ends with Track 13 “I Know What Scares You”
All songs over 4 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. I wish there was more solo segments throughout the catalog. I wish Streng took a few more vocal risks here and there showcasing more power, vibrato, falsetto and raw emotion. Vocals in my opinion sound a bit synthetic and overly saturated within the mix in reverb. I wish the vocals stood out more and were “less wet” within the overall mix.
In close “Voxmirage” is a highly original, melodic and fascinating musical experience from start to finish. Although it's primarily eletro-alt-rock based and like I said before - you never know what's coming round the corner with this band. The music is fresh and highly entertaining. Its strong suit – its amazing vocal presence and impressive songwriting finesse by these two led by Mike Streng. The songs are extremely melodic, passionate, and captivating and somewhat unpredictable. All these songs have a ring of truth to them. Each song possesses a unique personality, flair, and signature groove. Voxmirage are a surging Seattle based band for many reasons armed with a brilliant perspective an amazing voice to inspire your vivid imagination. Need I say more?