Set sail through a salty spring into the East Coast and its rock and roll history books on the mellifluous sophomore record, Memorial Ten Count, from Jon Mckiel.
Pulling from a silent cove of small town talent for motivation, this album seems to paint a portrait of the strange past few years. Reflective, not nostalgic. Progressive, not reactionary.
The collection of tunes suggest that Mckiel has grown his hidden talent for making weird things beautiful, be it protest poetry or meals on wheels. His voice has a strained subtlety that comes off as an honest and beautiful act of acoustic movement. Where Pavement and Sonic Youth capture raw timbre so nicely, Mckiel builds a new dynamic world.
Lead single “Conduit” captures the singer protesting fear with a “system of love” and a “peace sign to America”. It’s a gut-punching song that helps deliver Memorial Ten Count, (named for the fabled toll that marks the death of a champion boxer) into awkward darkness which conjured during our passing winter and its political movement. The song’s vocals are psychedelic and perfectly on time, while the guitar is mathematically intricate.
There is a lazy sway accompanying “Brothers”, the second title shared from MTC. If “Conduit” is anthemic, then “Brothers” is a spiritual. Humble and honest, like standing in the face of a black hole this is your last shot at redemption.“It can never be a measured move / I won’t play too much for you / I can hand you the moon,” Mckiel transcends.
Top Tracks: “Conduit”; “Brothers”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)