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Formed in downtown Detroit during the summer of 2012, the Mike Leslie Band features Mike Leslie on guitars/vocals, Mike Parrott on bass/vocals and Mike Swain on drums. The band have recently released their self-titled debut EP, which contains five evolving tracks.
To start off, “Notice” has a strong, hook-filled rocking sound to kick off the album. The chorus can and probably will get stuck in your head after a few listens. What I enjoyed the most is Mike’s guitar solo near the end. This blues orientated guitar solo is subtle, clean and emotionally charged enough, for you not to pick it out on the first listen, but once you recognize its power, the song feels so much stronger on each subsequent listen.
“Embers” has more of a sprawling arrangement, between tempo and intensity changes, but once again finds perfect solace with another distinctive bluesy guitar solo from Mike. “Nothing To Lose” has strong, early Maroon5 influences, not musically, but in the vocal delivery. It’s probably my least favorite song but by no means unlistenable to the point of skipping it. The song stands out in the sense that it’s the most different track on the Ep, for me anyway, but I think it fits perfectly in the middle, leading the way for the two latter retro tracks.
“Sickness” and “Sooner Or Later” are both very ‘Beatle-ish’ and takes us back to the true-blue acid, psychedelic pop/rock sounds of the sixties and early seventies. Just like the musical compositions, every track on this Ep bristles with energy and passion, giving the production a sonic vibrancy reminiscent of the golden, analog and vinyl era.
What’s also extraordinary about the Mike Leslie Band is that the songs that didn’t grab you on the first two or three listens on this Ep will start growing on you in a serious way, rather uncannily, afterwards. It was the same way with a lot of the best Beatles and Rolling Stones stuff way back. Besides all the catchy, up-beat rockers or sweet melodies that grabbed you right away, they had numerous tracks that somehow took more time to capture your attention aurally.
Overall The Mike Leslie Band’s self-titled release delivers straight-forward modern rock, while the band manages to expand on their sound, looking carefully back into the past. If you’re unfamiliar with the band and love rock n’ roll and pop sounds, then I highly recommend this refreshing Ep. MLB have completed a very self-assured and mature album, not one that kicks you in the balls but rather thoughtful and polished. The sound quality is stunningly clear and natural sounding, while the playing is assured and the chemistry between the trio fires on all cylinders throughout.
A solid Ep from beginning to end, go out and pick this one up, you won’t regret it!!
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