The further we go into the realm of social media-driven marketing and trends, the further we as a society seem to stray from the crucial art that is the act of having a perfectly sequenced album. Sure, the problem has plagued popular music since its inception with singles existing to sell albums, and albums existing as filler for said singles, but somewhere in there, musicians began to truly try with every single song they put their name on, and the art of a full-album experience was born.
If you’re buying a house, you’d like to know that the construction workers focused on every single brick and not just a couple of fancier bricks within a pile of half-broken, decaying bricks, right? Musicians are construction workers and each album they release should function as a lasting landmark of their ability. By the time a band reaches their fourth full-length album, they’ve either learned this fact or they’re DJ Khaled — thankfully for Mike Montrey Band (and everyone else), they’re the former.
Mike Montrey Band are no novices to the idea of crafting a detailed, balanced and full album. Their fourth release, Searching For My Soul, might be the best testament to this fact yet, as its concentrated seven-song tracklist works overtime to bring the music to the fans in the most conveniently and economically possible way. Each of the seven songs bides its time painting pictures of age-old Americana and landmarks far and near — “I Can’t Wait Any Longer” opens SFMS up with a riveting and rollicking introduction, showcasing the band and all of their strengths from the jump.
“Reno” dials the energy back a fraction, showing off Montrey’s emotional depths and his fantastic vocal timbre. “So Long City of Angels” pivots into something more mainline in the pop-rock genre, even going as far as to give listeners “ooh, la-la-la’s” in the chorus, and the personal love letter (and farewell) to such a totemic city. “Blue Skies Again” digs deep into the blues influences, vocal harmonies, and organ trills — pivoting off of maybe the album’s poppiest track to something far more textured is a great shift, and it sets the tone perfectly for the rest of what’s still to come.
Instrumentally, the next track “Held On To You” does some of the most interesting stuff on the record as it introduces horns and brass into the mix. It’s a great little track about love in its purest form, and the track is danceable enough to cozy up to a loved one on the dancefloor. “Listen To Me Roar” acts as Searching For My Soul’s last triumphant hurrah, offering a singable chorus and twinkling keys before the album circles back to its introspective core, and “Searching For The Sun” closes things out in a truly emotional fashion.
Dialing the production down significantly, the smaller finale feels earned and stays with the listener without a second thought. The magic of a seven-track album is its brevity and memorability, and Mike Montrey Band accomplishes an album that delivers a memorable blow and never overstays — the perfect musical houseguest if you ask me.
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