[25 March 2004]
Name your band Myracle Brah, and you’re asking for trouble, brah. Andy Bopp, the band’s progenitor, says that the intentional misspelling of “miracle” is homage to the Byrds. With all due respect, Mr. Bopp, that doesn’t make it okay. No matter what you say, there are just too many things wrong with your band’s name to set things right.
After hearing the first moments of Myracle Brah’s latest long player, entitled Treblemaker (please stop, Mr. Bopp, because you’re killing us), I became deeply perturbed because I knew right away that I was in for a large dose of gallingly peppy, totally soulless power-pop. To explain: The first track, “This Is Where We Belong”, sounds remarkably similar to that “She don’t eat the meat but she sure like the bone” song from the Dumb and Dumber soundtrack (Deadeye Dick’s “New Age Girl”). You know, “Mary-Mooo-oh-oh-ohn, she’s a vegetarian!” Remember? “Rugghff!!” Ring a bell?
Anyway, back to that first track—it’s the kind of album opener that immediately makes one (or at least me) assume, however unfairly, that whomever wrote it clearly isn’t capable of writing subtle, at-least-somewhat-smart pop songs. I was tempted to write a review based on that song alone, just to save myself the woe of having to listen to the rest of it. But alas, my critical integrity was at stake, so I decided to stick around for at least one more song, and was surprised to hear a tight little nugget of Lennon-inspired pop called “When She Comes Around”. Sure, it’s the kind of track that Bob Pollard tosses off between 12-ounce cans of the High Life, but still a vast and unexpected improvement.
By track three, I was beginning to wonder if the same guy was writing each of these songs. I checked. He was.
Track three, by the way, is “Climbing on a Star”, a radiant, radio-ready mini-masterpiece that made me think, “Finally! Just the kind of thing I want out of a Rainbow Quartz artist!” Bouncy intro, snappy verse, bouncy chorus, another snappy verse, and then an extended version of the chorus that provides the most satisfying moment of the song (and album, for that matter). In that moment, Bopp manages to ascend to pop divinity for just a few seconds to sing, “The moral of the story; there is no story when you’re laughing, when you’re climbing a star”. It’s the kind of brief passage that you could easily miss if you’re not listening carefully. But if you do catch it, and if you’re listening at the right time, it’ll make you smile despite yourself.
Then the song ends. Afterwards, Bopp transforms from temporary nonpareil pop wizard back to ordinary songwriter, dishing out mostly middling to sub-middling stuff. He does pause a moment two-thirds of the way through to give the listener a startlingly nice, meditative piece of mid-tempo storytelling with “The Most Important Subject”, before finally descending to the very same depths from which he began with the BTO-esque howler “Go”.
Come to think of it, when looking at the arc of the album in terms of song quality, it has a sort of exquisite symmetry about it. And though most listeners would probably prefer consistent quality to an even distribution of the good and bad, my guess is that Myracle Brah fans (you know you’re out there) will dig the whole mess just fine.