Saturday, December 15, 2012

Album Review: Hawaii: Part II by ミラクルミュージカル

First of all, "ミラクルミュージカル" means "Miracle Musical" or "Musical Miracle" depending on who you ask. Either way, it's the side-project of Tally Hall guitarist Joe Hawley and includes appearances by most of the other band members. 

Hawaii: Part II begins with the almost holiday-sounding "Introduction to the Snow," in which Hawley employs 1930s-style vocals. "Introduction to the Snow" is a beautiful, yet very short track, which flows wonderfully into "Isle Unto Thyself," a heavily synthesized track. Next is "Black Rainbows featuring a very interesting sound, with melodic vocals by Madi Diaz and baglama played by Bora Karaca. "White Ball" is one of the lesser tracks on the album. Though it does feature vocals by Zubin Sedghi and poetic lyrics, I can't help but feel the female vocalists' talents would be better suited to Broadway.

"Murders" is a strange and dark tune that becomes stronger as a song as it progresses, beginning with simple  piano chords and continuing into an elegant bridge. The vocal also begin rough and become more refined and calm at the end of the piece. "宇宙ステーションのレベル7" or "Level 7 Space Station" is a very different track, with lyrics in several languages and featuring the use of a vocoder. These tracks are followed by "The Mind Electric," which is an altered version of an old, unreleased Tally Hall track formerly called "Inside the Mind of Simon." Both the original track and "The Mind Electric" are excellent pieces with a haunting and interesting story in the lyrics. 

The 8th track is titled "Labrinth," and reminds me of something by Mark Ronson and the Business International, due to a clever combination of somewhat 80s synths, a strong female vocalist (Charlene Kaye) singing eerily, interwoven with beats and rapping by Shane Maux. The rapping, although the center of the song, is done in such a way that even non-rap fans should be able to enjoy the piece. There is a more central use of the vocoder in "Time Machine," which features main vocals by both Hawley and Rob Cantor. "Stranded Lullaby," true to its title, is very much a lullaby, and features an intelligent use of strings. 

The album closes with "Dream Sweet in Sea Major," a bookend to the album, echoing the 30s vocals of "Introduction to the Snow," along with the faint holiday feel. The piece seems to have several movements, all different, but all gorgeous. The end of the album is as harsh as the beginning was gentle. 

Hawaii: Part II is a beautiful and intricate album, featuring a great deal of musicality and talent. Not only is is a must-hear for fans of Tally Hall, but for fans of music in general.

Hawaii: Part II can be found here.

1 comment:

  1. A few days ago, I remembered that Joe said he was doing a solo project, and was mad cause I couldn't/hadn't found it.
    This is perfection.