Dykehouse: Midrange
Ghostly International

Mike Dykehouse's Midrange crosses the anthemic guitar roar of classic shoegazing with New Wave electronic pop and Dykehouse does so, remarkably, using only an iMac, a Fender guitar, and a cheap microphone. In contrast to the electronic landscapes of his 2001 Dynamic Obsolesence on Planet Mu, this second full-length is an incredible high-energy gem of lovelorn pop songs that manages to bridge experimentalism with accessibility with no compromise to either. While the album resounds with echoes of The Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Depeche Mode, Lush, and Foo Fighters, Midrange manages in spite of that to sound fresh and, due to its uniformity of sound, uniquely Dykehouse's own. He bookends the album with lovely ambient instrumentals (“From The Cradle” and “To The Grave”) and intersperses two others but otherwise the album plunges relentlessly onwards. And the hooks! For starters, sample the churning roar of “Burden of Proof,” the swirling “Drown Inside of Me,” or the dreamy “Lost Holiday” (whose vocal melody even recalls “Don't' Fear The Reaper” by The Blue Oyster Cult of all things). And why “Chain Smoking” isn't atop every radio playlist in the universe is simply baffling, as its four minutes of pop heaven put to shame anything else heard in these parts in ages. Could there possibly be a better couplet this year than “Now I'm chain smokin' ‘cos my heart's broken”? Midrange steams along on a crest of wailing guitars, thunderous drums, and breath-laden vocals, and in inimitable Ramones style, fits fourteen songs into a perfect running time of forty minutes.

April 2004