Review- “Wild Lines”- Mike O’Neill

reviewed by Michael Thomas

The story of an album taking many years to complete is not a new story to the Canadian music industry. Sometimes albums can take a long time to write (in most recent memory, Guns N’ Roses’ Chinese Democracy) and be a mess, but other times a longer gestation period can only mean good things.

The latter is most definitely the case for Mike O’Neill of the dare-I-say legendary Canadian band the Inbreds. O’Neill decided he was going to make a solo album four years ago but ended up busy with other projects. What has emerged from the four-year wait is a pop masterpiece.

Though on the first listen of Wild Lines you might not realize this. What it takes is listening to everything that makes up each song. No song is exactly alike, and almost every song has moments of jaw-dropping brilliance, be it the subtle harmonies of album opener “This is Who I Am” or the banjo in the foreground of “Overtime.”

And then there’s just the plain old catchiness of “Tidy Up.” The chorus, which repeats the title several times, has been stuck in my head for a few hours now. Or the beginning of “Wasted Time” where O’Neill sings “I think I wasted time on you.” And don’t we all feel that way about people sometimes?

Oh, and the vocal harmonies are amazing. I mentioned them already in the album opener but they’re much more in-your-face (and awesome) in songs like “Henry,” “Don’t Forget to Breathe” and “Old Forest.”

The album also makes use of strange noises here and there to jar you as a listener. “Calgary,” which is already interesting by the use of flute and xylophone, ends with what sounds like a bunch of groaning in distress. “Old Forest” ends with what sounds like a loud organ note being pressed for an extended period of time. “She’s Good” begins with the sound of a doorbell ringing.

You owe it to yourself to check out this record. Check out O’Neill’s website to stream a song and info on how you can get the album into your hands.

Top Tracks: “Tidy Up”; “Calgary”; “Old Forest”

Rating: Hunting Call (Excellent) +*swoop*

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