Michigan Left review by Arkells

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  • Released: Oct 18, 2011
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.7 (7 votes)
Arkells: Michigan Left

Sound — 9
"Michigan Left" marks a slight change from "Jackson Square", this album seems brighter, and includes more synth sounds than the previous one. "Michigan Left" has a smooth sound, less aggressive than the previous efforts, but still maintains Arkells signature sound. There isn't a bad song on the album and all of them feature danceable choruses that will be sure to get a crowd going. One thing noticeably missing from the album is a slower song comparable to "The Choir" on "Jackson Square", however the album does have some less up beat songs like "One Foot Out The Door" however even that one has a faster beat, just less instruments to create the illusion of speed. Songs like "On Paper" and "Whistleblower" are rockers on this album but the whole album is a thing of beauty, though it's hard to say anything bad about an album that features "In The Air Tonight"-esque vocals on "Agent Zero". That said, with 10 songs clocking in at just over 35 minutes one can't help but feel somewhat disappointed.

Lyrics — 7
The lyrics aren't great poetry by any means, however they work well for a rock band. Talking about things from New York Yankee's Curtis Granderson on "Michigan Left" to The Tragically Hip on "Kiss Cam". The album deals with a lot of issues related to love and women; "On Paper" talks about the narrators desire for a girl but the ghost of relationships passed still haunts him, and the girls names both being laura makes it worse. "Kiss Cam" tells the story of a relationship in the midst of dying, going metaphorically from the (positive-ish) cheap seats, to the (negative) nosebleeds. While the lyrics may not be great poetry, they are sung with Max Kerman and Dan Griffin's soulfull tone and it works great once again.

Overall Impression — 9
"Michigan Left" is a great album, no doubt, but as of the 5th listen it has yet to show itself to be miles ahead of "Jackson Square". This CD is easily worth the listen and will be on repeat on many iPods. The songs probably most impressive are "On Paper", "Whistleblower", "Kiss Cam", and "Michigan Left", although with only 10 songs it's hard to deny any of the songs on here their share of the rotation. "Michigan Left" is a great, up tempo, fun rock album, me not being a stickler for great lyrics would only complain about the length. All in all, I love the album and have waited a long time for it, if it were to be stolen (I wouldn't lose it) I would buy it again in a heart beat.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    This (Michigan Left) is an album that will take some time to grow on you, especially if -- like me -- you have listened to the Arkell's first album "Jackson Square" a million times. Jackson Square has more of a moodiness to it, more minor key hand-wringing, if that's the term. The great thing about Jackson Square was the way it sounded so original. It merely hinted at the band's influences. The song-writing, singing, and authoritative playing by all the members, was so convincing, that many fans must have felt like Arkells were going to be something hugely original in albums to come. Michigan Left has all the great playing, singing, song-writing, and production we expected based on Jackson Square, but it's unbelievably weird to hear them channeling other bands' sounds now, notably Big Country and Hall & Oates, especially. I guess I was expecting something more profound. Some of these songs seem like a blatant attempt to get a hit single. It's not a come-down from Jackson Square. It's just a completely unexpected direction. It's gonna take a while to grow on you. But it will.