By Paddy Kinsella
Oddly, there are very few songs that directly address the power of music. It’s why F.R David’s Music is among my Desert Island Discs. I feel seen, understood even, when he sings, ‘Music I love you so true / I’m just crazy about you / Without you I’d feel so sad‘. With the loss of live music in recent months, his urging ‘Music please come back again‘ feels even more palpable.
On their debut single for new record label, Run for Cover, Philadelphia-based band, Another Michael, address the part of music I perhaps hold most dear, new music. That immeasurable joy of landing upon an act and instantly knowing they’re going to provide your soundtrack for years to come. It opens, ‘We were up late one night / talking about new music / and you sent me a song that I’d never heard before / I need to get my headphones on’. Before the directness of the lyrics becomes apparent, you’ll most likely be swept up by Michael Doherty’s frankly mesmerising voice, which echoes Whitney’s Julien Elrich. There’s a childlike innocence to receiving a link and becoming excited for what awaits on the other side – that wholesomeness is present in Doherty’s voice. It also spreads to their instrumentation which – like contemporaries Big Thief and Hovvdy – feels natural and understated. Starting with affecting fingerpicks, it is eventually joined by drums and a backing choir. Their coming together feels like old friends meeting in the afternoon sun. No internal doubts wrangle in the mind, it just feels right to see them together again.
As well as addressing the excitement of new music, the song also addresses the industry’s vampiric desire for everything ‘new’. How quickly you can become old news. Fearfully, Doherty sings ‘I’m kind of new.’ Luckily, music this timeless won’t suffer that fate. Listening to Another Michael is like the first flushes of friendship when you know this person’s going to stick around. Discovering new music feels like this and, thank god, we now have a song to express that.
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