The Mighty Fine - Brothers and Smugglers (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Mighty Fine

Brothers and Smugglers (2014)

Creator-Destructor Records

The last time I heard The Mighty Fine, they seemed ambitious and ready to make the big step forward. However, it came off a bit like they were playing it safe. Fast-forward a couple years and now, this California four-piece has jumped outside the box with enough pizzazz, a mid-tempo punk attitude and a bravado, that are all proving very hard to ignore. Brothers and Smugglers feels like the ideal step in the right direction for them and more so, it feels like an organic growth in their sound. It's cheesy-punk as hell at times still but there's still enough fun balancing the maturity on the record.

They tango a lot with melodic-punk and pop-punk but the latter seems to be their best-worn suit. I think it's the perfect cross-pollination for fans of Hot Water Music, Millencolin and The Lawrence Arms. It also bears a striking resemblance to The Swellers on more than a few parts but what I like most here is how thoroughly engaging they weave together powerful sing-alongs and catchy songwriting. "Into The Clouds" packs a lot of energy with shifty riffs, massive bass lines and a neat melodic pop-punk beat. The hooks ensure a crafty knack for coming off anthemic throughout rather than just plain and drab and with any pop-punk fan base I'm sure this is deeply appreciated. The gravely vocals of Brook Thompson add an edgier take to whatever they did before and jump out so well with his guitars syncing up Casey Weiber's, also pulling vocal duties. Both interplay with great synergy on the guitars and on the mic.

The Mighty Fine sound a lot like a band who would own the stage when Warped Tour was good. Stinging assessment, but I can't find another way to put it. They really do feel like a fucking rad 2004 band. Yes, they're flashy and fast-paced as "Way Too Fast" would show but their music bats outside their comfort zone and that's a big plus. Their tendency to mix speedy riffs, huge choruses and stick in serious, driving tones a la "Calypso" shows that you can add dashes of flair to a musical structure that's existed for decades in pop-punk, yet still come off as a breath of fresh air. And that sums up The Mighty Fine. More pop than punk but a really good fucking blend all together.