Mia Hope

We Are Just Satellites

Written by: AP on 22/02/2010 02:48:16

As usual, debuting five-piece Mia Hope are forecast to be the future of British metal, with their chaotic take on metalcore earning shit-eating praise from most of the UK press heavyweights. Sometimes these pseudo-critics are onto something though, and "We Are Just Satellites" might be one such anomaly. Before proceeding with the review, however, make sure that the following bands are checked on your like list: Zao, Johnny Truant and The Psyke Project. Those three names alone should be your cue that this is not easy listening; this is as challenging as metalcore gets, and the vocals are... well...

No matter how many times I listen to "We Are Just Satellites", I cannot fully befriend the vocals, courtesy of Matt Wakefield. He is clearly inspired by Daniel Weyandt (Zao) and Stuart Hunter (ex-Johnny Truant), but unlike Martin Nielskov (The Psyke Project), he does not fully master the art of grating your ears just the right amount without inflicting carpet burn inside them. The lo-fi production on the album means that the instruments sound hazy in a cool way, but as soon as Wakefield lets loose his abrasive bark, they are left to linger in the background, and consequently the impressively technical guitar work tends to go unnoticed. There is a second member (not sure which) contributing some back up screams (see: "Now's Not A Good Time") whose delivery is much less grating and much more in harmony with the music - whereas Wakefield sticks out like a sore thumb. But to his credit, at least he sounds like an asylum escapee, which is fine taking into account the frenzied nature of Mia Hope's music.

Although the spastic mathcore tracks "Great Danes With Wings", "More Optimistic Days" and "Glass Buildings With Amazing Lights" each have their merits too, Mia Hope are at their best in songs like "Pollyanna", "(Filmed Like a) Modern Day Noir", "Now's Not A Good Time", "Susseration: The Escape" and "Writing in the Dark" where the mathcore fanaticism is left out and the band's progressive mindset takes over, resulting in songs that recall the beautiful minimalism of The Psyke Project's music. These songs elicit a feeling of torturing despair through the use of relentless drones which then occasionally explode into spasms of brooding intensity, leaving the listener both overcome with terror, and overwhelmed by the elegance of the music. This is schizophrenic songwriting at its best.

Still, I cannot help feeling that a number of the transitions sound like they were put together in haste with little regard for aesthetics (for example in "50 Year Storm"), and that some of the more experimental parts in songs like "Microbial Culture" lack direction. But then again, together with the low key production, the sonic imperfections do kind of add to the mental song structures and can be dismissed as the kind of cosmetic flaws that most debut albums have. I am convinced that future efforts from Mia Hope will be more focused and as such, "We Are Just Satellites" is a satisfying appetizer for things to come.


Download: Pollyanna, (Filmed Like a) Modern Day Noir, Now's Not a Good Time, Writing in the Dark
For the fans of: Johnny Truant, Path Of No Return, The Psyke Project, Will Haven
Listen: Myspace

Release date 08.02.2010
Rising Records

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