Sunday, May 2, 2010

Mi Ami

Steal Your Face (Thrill Jockey, 04.2010)

For: Black Eyes, Pre, Suicide, "Lightning Bolt meets reggae" (thanks Mike Black)

Byline: A little more than a year after 2009’s Watersports, the no-wave rockers returns with a sprawling, menace-filled album that combines abrasive noise-punk with a heavy, dub-influenced rhythm section. Originally published on Used by permission by inyourspeakers, LLC.

Please read full review here

...Fully engaging Steal Your Face is a tricky thing to do. In just over a year Mi Ami have managed to gut their dub-heavy, post-punk African polyrhythm and emerge with something that shoves the abrasiveness, no-wave guitar squalor, and percussion-as-weapon drumming to the front of the mix. The unrestrained viciousness that rode shotgun to Mi Ami’s deeply rhythmic drum and bass tracks on Watersports is now in the driver’s seat. Intense? Yes. But while Mi Ami may be hard to keep up with, they have never sounded better. It is difficult to conceive of this massive amount of sound coming from a trio; every member seems to be playing at least two other roles. Take singer-guitarist Daniel Martin-McCormick, it is hard to imagine him even being able to hold a guitar while he unleashes his characteristic banshee screeches and semi-coherent babble. But here, even when his vocal gesticulations are turned up to 11, his guitar grinds, spews razor sharp shrapnel staccato riffs, and plays gorgeous tremolo picked post-rock build ups…all within the first minute of the album opener “Harmonics (Genius of Love)”. The colossal rhythm section of bassist Jacob Long and drummer Damon Palmero bolster Martin-McCormick’s ecstatic, straight-to-the-jugular diatribes on secrets, Whitney Houston, Bruce Springsteen and hipster cynicism by laying down thick grooves of menacing third-world doom.

This is how Steal Your Face operates, never willing to be pinned down or to come up for air, each movement is shoved under the bus of each approaching explosion. The polyrhythm groove that dominated Watersports are still here in spades, but have been pared down enough to allow a busier, hotter, and noisier Mi Ami to bulldoze their cavernous drumming under a teetering monument to visceral sound blasts. Six songs long, with five-certified burners, “Dreamers” is a much needed reprieve after two hyper-kinetic long players. “Dreamers” is just dreamy enough to be compared favorably to Algeria’s finest “Desert Rock” band Terrakaft, who marry fractured blues riffs with native tribal drumming. Mi Ami are heirs to an era that saw The Clash’s pilgrimage to Jamaica and Fugazi’s big F-U to skinheads by playing unabashedly funky bass lines during their break downs. Far from breaking ground, and they know it, Mi Ami pushes their noise-dub freakouts to the limit, just to see what they can get away with...

Ryan H.

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