(Photo Credit - DL Anderson Pictures)
Advance Review - Mipso: Mipso (October 16, 2020) via Rounder Records
North Carolinian quartet Mipso are back with their sixth release, a self-titled album and their first with Rounder Records. With Mipso, the group continues their musical evolution from bluegrass to more indie-folk stylings. To write Mipso, the four-piece headed back to North Carolina, specifically a farm near Chapel Hill. It was there they challenged themselves with new instrumentation such as analog synths and lap steel guitars. The album was recorded in Echo Mountain in Asheville, North Carolina. The end result is some of their most emotionally charged music so far.
Thematically, Mipso struggles with notions of disappointment and despair in the current state of the world. The do so extremely well through emotive melodies and deep lyrical work. One such track, "Just Want to Be Loved" posits lyrically:
"Sunday morning I recall / Swearing off of alcohol again / Lately I’ve been waking up
Shaking off a dream before it ends / I can’t stop the feeling now, all I’m thinking of
I just want to be loved / I just want to be loved"
Songwriter Jacob Sharpe noted that "Just Want to Be Loved" is all about the little moments when you feel out of place and how some form of acceptance would do so much to overcome those emotions.
Musically, Mipso also leans a little alt-country and I'm here for it. I think the vocal harmonies on the album are some of the best I've heard in a while. Structurally Mipso as a four-piece work so well in that they are so collaborative in their process. They take turns writing songs, they take turns being the front-person, but it all comes together cohesively and you know what you're listening to is from the band. While the album is a bit laid back and there's not a track that's gonna blow the doors off with up-beat melodies (the closest they come is "Wallpaper Baby"), that suits me just fine. There's so much going on in each track it's worth multiple listens to catch everything. If you're a fan of alt-country or indie-folk, Mipso's newest release is going to be right up your alley. I know it was up mine.
Rating - 4.5/5