My Epiphany - Miribilia (Cover Artwork)

My Epiphany

Miribilia (2005)


My Epiphany's bio claims that the band was born out of singer/guitarist John Swingset's 16-year-old LSD experience. Swingset (I hope this is a stage name) was out on his balcony when (I hope this is a joke), "A huge eyeball opened in the sky, and communicated telepathically with him. It told him that he must learn to play guitar and sing."

Now, this would seem to suggest that a band formed from an LSD experience, whether real or not, would be rooted in psychedelics, free-form jams, or at least lyrics steeped in acid trip imagery. Instead, My Epiphany is a moody indie band that laces effect-heavy guitars and electronic backings with some rocking choruses.

If nothing else, My Epiphany has a pretty good handle on songwriting. "Body Talk" and "Final Battle" show that they can pen a dance groove, while "Small Town" and "Thank You Glorious" exhibit a knowledge of indie pop, and "Life Will Never Take Us Alive" and "Girl Model A" show an ability for writing emotional ballads that don't seem forced. Swingset's voice is pretty dramatic and powerful, sounding like a more breathy Anthony Green at his best and a knock-off of the guy from Alien Ant Farm at his worst.

My Epiphany also excel at producing layered and lush sonic backdrops by allowing the guitar and synth to really play off of each other, but sometimes this goes a little too far with pointless and tediously long instrumental or electronic passages. The last two minutes and 20 seconds of "Satellite Talk," the all-instrumental haunted circus sounds of the creatively titled "Interlude," and the nearly 12-minute long repetitive strumming that leads into the album's hidden track all seem unnecessary.

The problem with Mirabilia is that that the glossy production tends to leave the band's music stuck on a plain that doesn't rise to any mountaintops or dip into any valleys. I am not a lo-fi purist or anything, and can appreciate good production when I hear it; it just seems that this top-notch radio rock production doesn't lend itself to My Epiphany's sound. There are times when the distortion kicks in and the songs don't seem to gain any volume or power. Swingset's voice also seems to lose a bit of its drama thanks to the super clear recording style. Sometimes the drums even end up feeling like nothing but another layer of the band's ambient underpinnings instead of a powerful driving force. The end result is an album that feels a bit too sanitized and tame.