Mike Mangione – Tenebrae

Mike Mangione – Tenebrae / 2007 Mike Mangione / 12 Tracks / http://www.mikemangione.com /

“Tenebrae” 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. “Waiting For No One” is a very long track in terms of leading off “Tenebrae”, 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 “It’s Me, Not You”, the second track on the disc. This production is very laissez faire (hands off), which gives the compositions on “Tenebrae” a live, coffee shop type of sound that highlights the humanity of Mangione’s voice.

While “It’s Me, Not You” could make it on radio stations’ 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 “wrong” with the songs on “Tenebrae” in regards to the production. “The Killing Floor” is another tricky and trying track for anyone that ventured into “Tenebrae”. As was the case with “Waiting for No One”, 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 “The Killing Floor” go by much faster than would normally be the case with a track that length. Of the twelve cuts on “Tenebrae”, there are only about three that could conceivably be placed on rotation without any further modification (such as a syncopation of the song’s runtime); these tracks are “It’s Me, Not You”, “Slowdown” and “It’s A Hard Road To Crawl”.

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.  The soulful vocal styles of Mangione, coupled with the smartly-crafted arrangements present throughout the disc, makes “Tenebrae” 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

Rating: 7.0/10

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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