Miguel Campbell Drops the Memoirs LP

This is “evocative of the era of French Touch,” according to the 1000 blogs that Cntrl+C/Cntrl+V’d directly from the one-sheet for Miguel Campbell’s forthcoming album, Memoirs.

They’re not wrong, but it’d be nice if the people who supposedly love music enough to write about it had, uh, something to say about it. So I will: I’ve come around to this sound in the last few years, namely because I’ve heard a few people do it right and by “do it right” I mean “make music that is evocative of an emotion other than the existential despair that comes from jamming your head into a K-hole in the middle of a crowded dancefloor.”

It’s mood music, it stays in a certain pocket in the way jazz musicians used to talk about and it requires a kind of skill to keep you engaged. It relies upon hooks and Miguel has the knack for it in spades.

“All Cried Out” brings to mind vintage Bobby O (Bobby O when he was trying, circa the vintage Hotline material); Miguel Campbell is exceptional at isolating a tone that sounds like classic Italo stripped of crud and polished off like gleaming black glass. “Own Thing” has a chilled out Prince vibe to it. “Dark Star Scenario” rides a wave of euphoric synths, dragged back down to the material world with the crunchy acid of the album’s counterpoint, the edgy and resilient “Stay Alive.” Miguel Campbell still has a lot to show the world; this is one of his most interesting sides.


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