Last years Feast of Hammers album by Birdeatsbaby was an intoxicating blend of goth-chamber-pop that made for an evening of (un) easy listening. The band embarked on a successful tour of the United States, making a pit stop in Seattle where I got to hang out with the band and enjoyed their explosive live show. A feeble attempt to conduct an interview at the venue turned into an email exchange that shed light on the bands creative process. Mishkin offered up tantalizing hints of a forthcoming solo record which intrigued me. How would Mishkin’s solo work differ from the band setting?
The album press packet I received offered up this tidbit “The fiery flame haired songstress is mostly known for her role as lead singer in the ‘orchestral punkrock’ band Birdeatsbaby, but has now branched off for a solo album. In her own words “I have another album brewing that is not quite Birdeatsbaby material…I have to get these songs out somehow”
With those words in mind I’ve taken in this record multiple times over the last few weeks. I have to say – this is a masterful record that can favorably be compared to the best of Tori Amos and other female artists of her ilk. Displaying vulnerability and strength in equal measures, it is all tied together by Mishkin’s vision – beautiful vocals, evocative words, and a musical backing that is nothing short of stunning. The music ranges from emotional piano laments to full band aural assaults, never losing the ability to connect with the listener. The album is short – at 8 songs and about 30 minutes. It stands as an artist statement – “This is what I have to say – nothing more, nothing less”.
in a sea of corporate blue (album highlights)
Lead off single Present Company is also the 1st track on the album. It serves as a mini-capsule for the albums intent. Gorgeous vocals by Mishkin with piano & orchestral backing makes for a wonderful introduction to the record. It takes on an epic feel just shy of 2 minutes as a full band enters the mix. Just shy of 3 minutes in the song explodes in an alluring concoction of noise and melody. Key lyrics: “I ran to grave and earth was cold / I dragged the stones away and entered in / I have no place here, he was silent / They have taken him away from me / I’m left in present company”
Raise the Bar features She Makes War which is the DIY solo project of Bristol based multi-instrumentalist, visual artist and digital polymath Laura Kidd. It makes for an entrancing collaboration – heavy, heavy guitars married to an appealing pop chorus. This one could (and should) be on every hipsters playlist. Or even regular folks. They like music too.
Hanging Tree is all piano & voice and is simply perfect. Might be what I think of when I think of the term “Goth”. Mishkin’s vocals over the last 20 seconds or so are simply stunning. Tracked multiple times to create a chorus, it provides an epic conclusion to an outpouring of emotion. Key lyrics: “It was uncertain to me how I could assume you, how I could not agree / I know you would have stayed and burned alive / But I’ve never seen a happy man unsatisfied”
Sugarknife is metal, pure and simple. Screeching guitars, wailing vocals. It segues into a waltz like jig seducing the listener before shifting back to noise and emotive singing by Mishkin. The final minute or so is demonic sighing, echoed by wailing guitars. What a way to end the record!
You can listen to the album on Mishkin Fitzgerald’s bandcamp website. Make sure to buy a copy after you are blown away by a record that displays stunning virtuosity and excellent musicianship. This is one artist that deserves to be a household name. Is it goth? Is it alternative? I don’t know. It’s Mishkin Fitzgerald. And it’s a masterpiece.
Verdict: Solo Masterpiece
For Fans of: Birdeatsbaby, Tori Amos, Sinead O’Connor, Nine Inch Nails
- Present Company
- Raise the Bar
- My Body, A Bridge
- Hanging Tree
- I Want This
- Wide Eyed