Take Away The Strain
Strong intro with the electric guitar. Then Mike takes away a little pace to make room for his amazing vocals. He shows he’s a natural singer and he knows how to build up a momentum in the song. Of all the songs on the EP, this might be the least one when it comes to the vocals, but the potential of this song is amazing. This song reminds me of the American band Radford and maybe of July For Kings too. I can’t say it’s similar to either one of those but the way it’s build up and maybe also the vocals remind me of those bands, and Radford in particular.
This song would deserve a decent re-recording with a back up band, to give it more body and then, if it gets balanced out some more, this could be a very big song.
My favourite song on the EP. Very sensitive lyrics: “And broken is how you are feeling, all of nightmares you are” And this is just an example, there’s a lot more of strong and sensitive lyrics. Also, the vocals are very strong in this song. Might Mike Finley get the chance to record a few songs for a CD single (or a full CD) this should definitely be one of them. It has that Goo Goo Dolls feel. He also has an unreleased, acoustic version of this song and that makes it even more intimate and in a way even more powerful. In this song, Mike Finley shows us how talented he is, not only as a singer, but also as a songwriter.
Starts out acoustic, and then Mike’s vocals set in. This song is a little different from the other songs on the CD. You could say the vocals are the basis on which this song is built. And in a way this is a true singer/songwriter song, reminding me of Damien Rice, Howie Day & Duncan Sheik. Very personal lyrics and just a guitar to back up the vocals. Maybe some subtle piano/keys could give the song a little more body but that’s not really necessary. This definitely is one of the strongest songs on the EP as Mike displays his strong vocals that are a mix between Goo Goo Dolls’ Johnny Rzeznik & Vertical Horizon’s Matt Scannell. Listen to this song, give yourself some time to get into it and you’ll find yourself liking it quite much.
Confidence In Change
This song has the “CD Single” written all over it. More of a band song than a solo song though, even though Mike pulls it off on his own. Very strong lyrics, and vocally also one of the strongest songs on the album. This is probably one of his older songs, cause you can hear he has done this song often. Musically the song could be improved on several points. I’d say lesser the focus on the electric guitar and add a subtle acoustic (guitar) or piano, to balance it out more. That way the vocals will get even more body (though I don’t think those necessarily need it). This might be just my opinion. Nonetheless, this song is a rough gem, that, with the right attention could be worked out to something very beautiful.
This is one of my favourites. I totally love the lyrics and this song is actually produced pretty decently for someone who doesn’t have the proper equipment. Very strong vocals and nicely backed up with the guitar.
Here you can obviously hear the Lifehouse & Gin Blossoms influences. Though Mike kept it very singer/songwriter-ish. This song is either going to be a personal favourite or you’re gonna find it nothing special.
I agree that maybe it might not be something that’s never been done before, but the song stands as a house and Mike does it justice and it sounds like Mike feels right at home when he’s playing this song.
Your Last Breath
Without a doubt, Your Last Breath, is the strongest song on the album. This song starts with an intro that is very Goo Goo Dolls-like. Mike’s vocals also hint towards Johnny Rzeznik, especially in later Goo Goo Dolls material. Though it would be the British version of Johnny. Actually the whole song kinda sounds like the later Goo Goo Dolls tradition, but the addition of piano by Matthew Gidman makes it sound quite refreshing and different. This song could mean Mike’s big break. It has everything a potential hit song needs:
– Personal lyrics that people can identify with
– A recognizable melody that will stick in your head
– Sensitive yet powerful vocals
– Strong instrumentals
– The song has live potential, both full band as solo, as acoustic.
– It’s not too alternative so normal pop radio won’t throw it away right away
– It’s no too poppy, so alternative radio will stick with it too
As you can see, I am very positive about this song. And I think I have every reason to be. This song, even though it’s not even my favourite Mike Finley song, convinced me of Mike’s abilities and his potential as a musican and a songwriter. It made me say that it’s not just my hope or wish that he will have a great future in music, but that it’s a promise.
This song started out as a rough, acoustic demo, but Mike decided to record it for the EP nonetheless. He sings: “A loser writing rubbish with a simple melody” Maybe it’s a simple melody, but Mike shows he definitely he’s not a loser. This acoustic song, basically a demo song, makes you hear how good of a singer he actually is. With self-reflecting lyrics with a drop of irony, Mike shows he has the critical view of a singer/songwriter. While listening to this I closed my eyes and I could see Woodstock-like images with the Bob Dylans, James Taylors, Woodie Guthries & Pete Seegers of today. And Mike would fit right in. You could consider this a bonus track, with the accent on bonus. Cause it’s definitely no punishment. It’s like a tasty dessert after an amazing dinner.