Music

Kolb Proves You Don't Need Every Bell, Whistle With 'Making Moves' (premiere)

Brooklyn song-scribe Kolb's debut EP demonstrates this one-off's prowess as he warbles and writes like an American Andy Partridge.

Mike Kolb has one of those singular artistic voices that you can't help but embrace. He warbles and writes like an American Andy Partridge, populates his songs with peculiar melodies and metaphors that summon fond recollections of Elf Power, Guided By Voices and other bedroom/basement geniuses. There's real beauty at work here, on this EP, Making Moves, which sees the light of day (or warmth of your electrical system) on 9 February via the Ramp Local label.

The opening "Divine Intervention" demonstrates the classically-trained vocalist's penchant for brilliant orchestration (bells, whistles, all that). "Car Song" casts our minds back to the halcyon days of Top of the Pops and the lovable odd and sods who'd turn up to display remarkable sartorial and melodic choices time after time. True, Kolb isn't a throwback full stop but one can't help but feel the tug of those nostalgic heartstrings on "Pound of Flesh" and feel like they're being transported back to a warm spring night in 1986, walking home wistfully from some John Hughes picture and wondering if it's all scam anyway.

No matter the pop culture shorthand, there's an emotionally honest quality that runs throughout this collection. Resisting the pastoral beauty of "Miracles" is as futile an effort as resisting the lure of planned obsolescence and subjecting one's self to corporate data mining. If that's the least bit cynical, then the closing, "Summer '16", a gorgeous English ballad if there ever was one, will serve to make you all gooey in all the right ways.

Kolb, who's based in New York City, began performing with the Hudson Opera Theater in his teen years, studied at Brooklyn College and soon became enamored with/corrupted by Brooklyn's independent music scene, including the much-lauded venue Palisades. (Don't look for it. It's not there anymore.) Kolb continues his affair with stage via a variety of stage productions and performances, all the while holding down bass duties in the groups Thanks For Coming and Water From Your Eyes. He maintains his ties to his musical roots as a member of the choir at Oratory St. Boniface Church in downtown Brooklyn.

Kolb's Making Moves may be ordered here.

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