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Mico - Outside The Unbearable Grows (Cover Artwork)

Mico

Mico: Outside The Unbearable GrowsOutside The Unbearable Grows (2003)
G7 Welcoming Committee Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: adamAdam
(others by this writer | submit your own)

What makes Mico such a fascinating band to listen to is that they manage to use what's becoming a fairly standard set of tools to make something that sounds truly special. If you dissected Mico's songs into individual elements and listened to them out of context, you'd hear lots of the same features.
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What makes Mico such a fascinating band to listen to is that they manage to use what's becoming a fairly standard set of tools to make something that sounds truly special. If you dissected Mico's songs into individual elements and listened to them out of context, you'd hear lots of the same features you hear in the burgeoning post-hardcore / emo scene. However Mico comes off sounding far, far more mature than their contemporaries. Despite the trend and potential financial rewards, they seem to have little interest in trying to appeal to that crowd.

Mico shares a quality with their neighbours the Weakerthans in that their lyrics walk a fine line between personal and political. While songs like "Your Everyday Apocalypse" and "The Great Achievement" are overtly political in their lyrics, they avoid sounding preachy. There's a sobering quality to them. For a band with a somewhat low profile and at times underwhelming presence in your stereo, it's amazing how inspiring some of these tracks really are.

Especially given the types of singing we get from other post-hardcore acts, John Stewart's vocals must be commended. They never drop their mature tone or break into clichéd lyrical gimmicks (shrieking, faux-vulnerability, etc). It says something about this genre when I'm proud to comment that Stewart can actually hold a tune. Instrumentally the band is very tight and more concerned with layered song compositions then letting any one musician break into a solo. I wouldn't be surprised if Mico's wrote collectively and didn't have a principle songwriter.

Quiet moments make the title track truly interesting as the band's three guitarists create an atmosphere that effortlessly shifts from dense to minimalist. To their credit the only comparison's I see to Mico's sound is in bands I greatly respect: "The Great Achievement" is on the same plane as Red Animal War. The spacey "Roads Travelled by Everyone" brings to mind Sparta. "Lina Tres" has shades of Hot Water Music.

Yet for all these similarities, Mico never sounds derivative. "Outside The Unbearable Grows" is an incredibly consistent and well-paced record. The track ordering creates a very effective flow between their rock songs and slower material. As Mico makes no obvious attempt to write pop-hooks into their songs, "Outside…" works far better as a complete album than it does in small doses. Throw on a pair of headphones and you can lose yourself in it.

 

 
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Scouts Honor - I Am the DustThe Undertones - The UndertonesThe Deadly Snakes - Porcella -or- A Bird in the Hand Is Worthless [12 inch, double LP]Green Day - WarningBouncing Souls - The Gold RecordThe Marked Men - Fix My BrainTeenage Bottlerocket - TotalBouncing Souls - Hopeless RomanticThe Lillingtons - Death by TelevisionMy Bloody Valentine - Loveless

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

Johnny just gave me the album a couple days ago, and I can't take it out of my stereo. His lyrics are incredible, and just as every review I've read has explained- the music is one-of-a-kind. Not to mention these guys are incredible people. You don't meet these types of people often. It's nice to see that there are true human beings out there that are trying to make a difference.
If you haven't heard the album, go get it!
LISTEN AND LEARN!!

adam (June 6, 2003)

Warsawpack sounds something like a very very political hip-hop/jazz hybrid. Think Rage Against The Machine with some horns, flutes and less "rock" leanings.

evildeadalive (June 6, 2003)

What is Warsawpack? I keep hearing about them, but have never heard them. Are the any good? What style of music do they play? I am genuinely curious...

Anonymous (June 5, 2003)

Nice to see someone mention red animal war in a review. They totally rule.

lieutenant (June 4, 2003)

quite possibly the best band on G7 alongside warsawpack

I second that. This band is amazing.

Anonymous (June 4, 2003)

quite possibly the best band on G7 alongside warsawpack.

Ramo

Anonymous (June 3, 2003)

Good review. Makes me want to hear what the band sounds like and it's good to know there is good "emo" still being made, when so many of the bands seem to be just turning into boring pop, with "heart-felt" vocals. But on a more positive note: FAMILY GUY SHOULD MAKE A MOVIE!!!

-Bing Crosby

travis (June 3, 2003)

to get my interest in a band going, all you have to do is liken them to the weakerthans.

good review adam, even without the weakerthans comment.

Anonymous (June 3, 2003)

mico good
wyzo

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