Mike Mangione – Tenebrae / 2007 Mike Mangione / 12 Tracks / http://www.mikemangione.com /
â€œTenebraeâ€ starts out slowly, with Mangione more concerned on creating a compelling and full sound instead of necessarily going forth and trying to wow listeners right off the bat. â€œWaiting For No Oneâ€ is a very long track in terms of leading off â€œTenebraeâ€, but the number of different twists and turns that ey puts into the song allows listeners to stick with Mangione until the end. Hints of Blessid Union of Souls and Dishwalla both present themselves during this opening track, and an interesting production presents itself during the onset of â€œItâ€™s Me, Not Youâ€, the second track on the disc. This production is very laissez faire (hands off), which gives the compositions on â€œTenebraeâ€ a live, coffee shop type of sound that highlights the humanity of Mangioneâ€™s voice.
While â€œItâ€™s Me, Not Youâ€ could make it on radio stationsâ€™ rotations easily, perhaps the next step for Mangione would be to re-master this album. This would allow a wider swath of listeners to appreciate the arrangements during the disc, even if there is nothing fundamentally â€œwrongâ€ with the songs on â€œTenebraeâ€ in regards to the production. â€œThe Killing Floorâ€ is another tricky and trying track for anyone that ventured into â€œTenebraeâ€. As was the case with â€œWaiting for No Oneâ€, the fact that Mangione is so able to tell a story with eir vocals and link the instrumentation present to that story makes the over-six minute runtime of â€œThe Killing Floorâ€ go by much faster than would normally be the case with a track that length. Of the twelve cuts on â€œTenebraeâ€, there are only about three that could conceivably be placed on rotation without any further modification (such as a syncopation of the songâ€™s runtime); these tracks are â€œItâ€™s Me, Not Youâ€, â€œSlowdownâ€ and â€œItâ€™s A Hard Road To Crawlâ€.
Having these shorter tracks present shows listeners that Mangione does not need to use the longer track lengths of previous tracks as a crutch. When Mangione can tell a complete story in three or four minutes, ey can do that.Â The soulful vocal styles of Mangione, coupled with the smartly-crafted arrangements present throughout the disc, makes â€œTenebraeâ€ into an album that has a high replay value and will impress both music fans and casual listeners alike. Give the disc a go if you are a fan of individuals like John Maher, the aforementioned Blessid Union of Souls, or even the Goo Goo Dolls.
Top Tracks: Slowdown, Great Divide