Mi Ami – Watersports Mi Ami – Watersports

Mi Ami - Watersports Album Art

Mi Ami - Watersports

Mi Ami is a trio based out of San Francisco comprised of singer / guitarist Daniel Martin-McCormick, bassist Jacob Long and drummer Damon Palermo. Martin-McCormick and Long have played together in several bands, the most prominent of which being Black Eyes, a hyper-rhythmic experimental punk band. They have managed to carry over into Mi Ami much of what made Black Eyes so special; nervy, intense energy, aggressive post-punk infused guitar lines, love of overstuffed rhythm, and created something that not only sounds new, but builds on decades of music that has come before it.

The first song, Echononecho, sets the stage for the rest of the record. The gurgling synth backdrop gives an underwater feeling, the percussion hits incessantly, the funky bass comes in and eventually sparse, piercing shards of guitar rip in to mix everything up. Martin-McCormick’s yelpy, high-pitched and frantic vocals will probably rub a lot of people the wrong way, but to me his voice is as versatile of an instrument as anything on this album. I love the way his vocals are able to spring forth from the sonic waterfall and shake you without braying, but your mileage on this may vary. Even with all the busy percussion and syth atmospherics, the song itself never gets buried in too much chaos. This set of songs is busy, energetic and aggressive, but with White Whife (great song title) they show themselves capable of slowing down and taking on a more ominous tone.
Volume is used expertly on this record, the vocals can drift and blend in with the chaotic meat of the song, then suddenly, piercingly come to the forefront, as demonstrated to excellent effect on Pressure. This ability to be part of the whole when needed, and then quickly amp up gives an exciting and startling quality to much of this record.
Palermo has said in interviews that there was no drum overdubbing (there was overdubbing, just not on the drums) on the record. This shows what a technically skilled band this is, and points to the only area of worry for them. There is a slight chance that these guys could turn into a Hella style wankfest that, while technically impressive, makes horrible music. Their saving grace, however, is a love of groove. These guys can lay it down, as the funky as hell bass on Echononecho can attest.
The final song, Peacetalks Downer, shows a slightly gentler, less piercing side to the band. McCormick’s high register vocals even allow for some beauty, oddly reminiscent of Blonde Redhead, another group who can pummel and pierce, but also pull off beautiful melodies.

Despite the band’s talk of loose structure and instant composition, these songs are tight, and the album holds together as a whole incredibly well. These guys have something here, and seem ready and eager to continue evolving. This is the most exciting band I’ve heard in this young year, and if you haven’t heard them yet, stop reading this and go fucking listen to them.

Mi Ami - Watersports, reviewed by coelho on 2009-03-10T20:50:16-07:00 rating 4.1 out of 5

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