M.I.J. - The Radio Goodnight
Caulfield Records

After what seems like an eternity, a proper MIJ full-length has
finally been released. Unfortuantely, I can't help but think that it's a
few years too late.  The first time I saw the Promise Ring (a little over
four years ago), I went home convinced they were the best band in the
world.  Had MIJ circa 2000 been on the bill, I might have gone home with a
different impression.  Even though the press release says that this is
their first album, I know better.  For, at that very show I bought MIJ's
debut _Chewed Smooth Center_. While that album is less than stellar they
wisely took time off to write and tour, along the way releasing a solid
7" on 10% records.  Let me revise that - they took a lot of time off. I
don't know what they did whether it be college or a move to Minnesota, but
the time in between this album and the last has been at least four
years. That being said, they certainly wrote some damn good pop songs in
that time.  On _The Radio Goodnight_ they blow through 10 songs sharply
and quickly, only giving the listener a breather in a few spots.  Most
songs are charged and powerful, propelled by the explosive drumming and
somtimes-herky-jerky discordant guitar playing.  Inevitably, most songs
fall into a sweet lull of cleanly picked, euphonious backbending,
showcasing the soaring vocal work.  If I didn't know any better I'd
mistake the singer for Jeremy Enigk of Sunny Day Real Estate. He really
let's it go in some of these songs and ends up sounding pretty impressive
more often than not.  Still though, I can't help to think that the timing
of this release won't come as a disadvantage.  Where does something like
this fit in five years after it's prime?  I mean, it's good stuff and I
genuinely hope that people buy it, but it's as if this record has been
locked in a time capsule.  I just hope it can find it's niche in this
post-Promise Ring boom/"emo" backlash era.  If you like old Promise Ring
(pre-30 Degrees Everywhere) I would not hesitate to pick this up.  The
music is still viable, but the question is, will the kids pull their
collective heads out of their asses long enough to listen to a band that's
NOT the Get Up Kids or The Alkaline Trio?
...david smith...

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