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Mikey Erg

Mikey Erg

Mikey Erg deserves an honorary degree from somebody. The projects he fronts all have a healing, therapeutic quality, which is something we all need as the calendar flips.

Billed as a “return to punk” after doing solo singer-with-a-guitar thing, the self-titled record is a statement that begins with its Clash nod cover. It’s loud and direct. It’s personal in that unique Mikey Erg way that his fans have come to know. It also brings his whole career full circle in front of us. Take 2 doses of pop-punk a la The Ergs! (or for those who are unfamiliar with his catalog, start with the Descendents), 1 dose of the heavier, faster Psyched To Die, and a pinch of his solo work thus far. Together you have a recipe for driving, emotional punk with melodic sensibilities and an underlying vulnerable yet reflective tone. Oh, and a Green Day cover to boot.

“Rumblestrip” is one of the most Ergs-like songs on the record, but with a little more life experience washing away that fresh dawn sunshine from this namesake band of the ‘00s. Similar vibes come across in the instantly earworm “Hey Marissa.” Ultimately, “Denny Songs” might be the best example of what you get on this record: pop-punk that’s singalong with a sense of connection and lament, but more depth than you expect on first listen. The bass really jumps out on this track, mixed up front, and it drives the song even though Mikey’s emotive vocals are what carry the weight. That’s something of a metaphor overall: Mikey is front and center in these songs, but there’s a lot happening outside the narrow scope of that spotlight on the frontperson.

Things get a bit heavier from time to time too. “Spin the Black Circle” and “Got To Get You Back Into My Life” have a pummeling, intense and immediate energy. Meanwhile, despite all this chatter about the punkiness, “Give Up” might be the best thing on here: a six-and-a-half minute closing track that segues perfectly from the ballad “God Mic” into a powerfully emotive noise jam that’s equal parts ‘90s feedback and ‘60s lose-yourself-in-the-moment freak-out.

I don’t want to draw too many Ergs! comparisons because it’s been like 15 years, but there are a lot of commonalities -- heck, he’s still using the namesake, so I think they’re welcome. Perhaps the biggest compliment and comparison I can make to his previous band is the consistency. From start to finish, this record blends together and flows so smoothly that it’s over too fast. Just like Ergs! records, it’s a fun blast of poppy-punk that hits a distinct mood, draws from familiar influences, yet establishes its own voice so strongly that it’s immersive.

8.7 / 10Loren
KFAI - Undead
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8.7 / 10

8.7 / 10

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