Los Angeles, CA-based side project Myja featuring Michael Marquart and Jacob Bunton release their debut self-titled album on January 12th, 2018. The record was produced, engineered and mixed by Jason Elgin (Maylene & The Sons Of Disaster, Collective Soul), at The Barn, Marquart’s studio in Malibu, CA. In today’s world of singles, short attention spans and immediate gratification, it goes against the grain to release a 10 track rock album. But then I guess that Myja are not a band to go along with the crowd. Let’s face it: Being a classic rock band in 2018 requires a very specific amount of fearlessness, where taking yourself and your music seriously may compromise how seriously others may take you. If you’re willing to create a full-length album in today’s warped industry, then you better be willing to put everything you’ve got into it. Anything less simply wouldn’t do. The LA duo realize this, and go into writing the band’s debut album, ready to spark up a wildfire.
The first thing that strikes you about the music, is that there are no egos, no rock star attitudes and no going through the motions. These are obviously musicians with a past, a present, and most excitingly… a future. The next thing of note, is probably the most important in a rock band – the vocals.
From the opening melodic rocker “Hit and Run”, it’s evident that vocalist has the chops to sing the phone-book and make it sound majestic… without misdialing. My theory is confirmed on the following number “Anniversary”, which also establishes the status of the big choruses and harmonies. The third track, “Breath”, closes the deal as Myja forge gritty guitar riffs and screaming solo lines. It’s a clincher. This is rock from another era, where melody, rhythm and lyrics held equal importance.
There are times where the listener is surprised with what this band comes up with. “Into Focus” begins with an alternative rock sound, before morphing into a classic rock bridge and then an epic progressive rock chorus. This is one of my favorite tracks on the album, and the chorus will get stuck in your head for weeks.
There are some really great crunchy rock moments on this album. “Hangman” is one of them. The song is mid-tempo, catchy, and has some killer guitar work. The slow vocal sections build into rich classic choruses which are followed by heavy riffing and solo work. “Just One Kiss” makes for another great moment. The intro is great, the verses are catchy, and the choruses are unadulterated pop-inclined excursions.
“Dear Eden” has good acoustic guitar work, and some great energy, together with a soaring vocal performance. Next to “Into Focus”, “Flood” is another one of the best songs on the album. The layered vocal harmonies and luscious choruses together with the tasteful guitar work reminds me of super group Asia, in their glorious heyday.
The instrumental and arranging work on the next track, “Plans”, is progressive and creative, and leads into the brilliant closer “Mourning The Death” which is another vehicle for the stunning vocals on display throughout the album. Myra is made up of musicians with new musical life, a new attitude and the desire to create. Michael Marquart and Jacob Bunton have a passion to carry on both the tradition of the past and create new music for today.