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Mychael Gabriel’s “Let There Be Light”

There’s been an endless barrage of classic rock revival coming out of the woodwork since the start of the decade – ironically enough, given the rocky starts the 2020s got off to – but of the interesting tracks to have roots in this iconic genre that I’ve listened to in 2022, Mychael Gabriel’s “Let There Be Light” is one of the only hard swinging rockers I’ve enjoyed. Not as dance-centric as some of its stylistic contemporaries are, “Let There Be Light” is still very much on the throwback end of the artistic pool, but no matter what you brand its groove and the melody that straddles it, you want to hear this song before the autumn is over.  

This is probably the most straightforward beat Mychael Gabriel could have recorded in this instance, but considering the singer in the booth for this performance, it isn’t a complete shock to me at all. This player is such a clandestine vocalist that it would make sense to have gone even louder with the drums than he did in this scenario; by giving us as much of a firm backdrop as the percussion can supply, this highly gifted crooner can fill in the space between beats with as soft and lush a melodic presence as he sees fit.  

Gabriel’s voice is a little more delicate than the bassline is, but it’s so profoundly well-adjusted to the backdrop that I cannot picture another singer performing these parts as well as he does. With the harmonies setting up a groove as smooth as silk, he doesn’t have to be too virtuosic with his words to sound invested in the narrative, which can be half the battle when creating something you didn’t want within a genre box to begin with. Everything comes off without a hitch in this single, and that’s mostly because of this guy’s strength as a singer and solo artist in general.  

There are a few instances where the verse is more nimble than necessary, but this is likely what makes our man’s lyrical delivery such a memorable one in this single. “Let There Be Light” gets its hardest chills factor in the last sixty seconds of play, which is when the vocal takes center stage for what is arguably the most versatile point of communication in the song. If this is what Mychael Gabriel can bring out in the right situations, this won’t be the one occasion on which he’s making big headlines coming out of the studio. Honestly, I could listen to a whole album made up of this kind of musical magic, and I can see a lot of others doing the same. 

It’s officially starting to feel like an autumn of throwback pop-rock in 2022, and I think the reason for this starts and ends with the indie element players like Mychael Gabriel are forcing out of the shadows and into the headlines right now. There are no commercial ties that bind him together with a swelling trend in the American underground outside of how he’s exploiting hybridity – this is a relationship based on creativity and kinship with the music he’s playing for the world.  

Mindy McCall



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