Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Indie Music: Mpathy "Golden Boy"

by Germar Derron

The casual fan judges vocal music largely based on vocals. But when a mix contains no less than 30 tracks, including drums, bass, keys, guitars, effects, violin, synth, and percussion . . . is that fair? If that is fair, then record labels should mostly scour the earth looking for the next Whitney Houstons and Freddie Mercurys--and not worry about bands, arrangements, producers, or even genres. Mpathy will never be the strongest vocalist, and despite that Golden Boy is a very intriguing, head nodding, foot-tapping, arms swinging project.

Everyone disagrees that this sound is a mix of bands and artists. They agree that this blends or bends genres and styles, but disagree about the components that constitute that blend. And the EP seems to disagree with itself. My peers debate that this is everything from Owl City, to Justin Timberlake, to Sigur Ros. Though it may be too easy to say, "The Golden Boy" is obviously 80s. I sang the chorus all day, then easily transitioned into Culture Club tunes. Yes, Mpathy updated and darkened that sound, but the chorus is so singable. Plus, it works today where old is new once again, and dance-pop is back in a major way.

Although I'm not sure if Golden Boy is the single or EP, or what "The Golden Boy" might be, I expected the tracks to sound like that. They don't really. There's diversity here. The tracks on this single/EP capture pretty much all that is dance, indie, pop, and now (also yesterday). On each track, his vocal comes across as thin, nasally . . . weak, but I don't mind. I think it's a choice, and one that I'm fine with. I appreciate when artists work for it, then make it work. And I've heard him elsewhere do a full warm chesty tenor. Nah. He's home now, and he should stay there.


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