GRACEFUL AND IN SIN
ALBUM MEMENTO MATERIA RELEASE:
JANUARY 27, 2003 REVIEW: FEBRUARY 11, 2003
was indeed a pleasant, if not liberating, surprise to hear the debut album
from Michigan. The Swedish trio had a track called "So Astray"
on a compilation a year or two ago that revealed a hefty, yet healthy
Depeche Mode influence. Attempts to resemble the kings of electronic pop
music rarely succeed, but Michigan did it with flare and elegance.
"Graceful and in Sin" does borrow structure and mood from "Violator"
but incorporates personal and original expression. A softer voice, more
focus on melodies and choruses, generally higher in tempo. The smooth
production adds to the overall impression of professionalism and picks
the album up another notch on the infamous grade ladder. You have to admire,
and in my case reward, composer Jonas Öberg's knack for creating
both direct synthpop gems and thoughtful mellow laden songs. The track
"She's a God" brought back memories from Australian Static Icon,
a past favourite band, and further listening to Michigan unfolds more
similarities with this band, albeit on a significantly softer level overall.
I urged myself to avoid the cliché of speaking about "the
album lacks weaknesses and yada yada", but did not, could not, manage
this. The album is, then, impressive all the way through.
"Graceful and in Sin" probably wouldn't exist if it wasn't for
"Violator", but it doesn't take away from the brilliance of
the album. Firstly, it's a debut album and, secondly, its tracks are all
unique in their combination of influence and original ideas. It's about
damn time Sweden reclaim the mellow synthpop crown!