I the Mighty
(Equal Vision Records)
San Francisco’s I the Mighty are two things: an extremely talented band and a band stuck in between two camps. The band’s music is half progressive post-hardcore and half melodic, anthemic alternative rock. They’re the metaphorical offspring of Circa Survive and Saosin, too hooky to appeal to prog heads and too ambitious and technical to dream of radio waves. The band’s 2013 debut Satori highlighted this dichotomy. The album’s fifty-minute run time alternated between catchy, angst-driven numbers (it was a break-up record, after all) and pensive, proggy ditties. While the result could have felt uneven, I the Mighty’s talent helped carry an otherwise awkward affair. I the Mighty clearly had the talent and potential, but it was clear they had bigger and better things in store.
Fast forward to now (yes, now now) and the band’s sophomore record, Connector, works as a neat metaphor. The album feels like a proper connecting point between I the Mighty’s head and heart. Connector is the “bigger and better” thing I mentioned above. The songs feel much more, er, connected and less scattered. Angular riffs and neat leads play fantastically amongst Brent Walsh’s best melodies to date. Outside of the playfully and awesome “The Hound and the Fox”, most of the album is more melodic than expected. Look at a song like “The Lying Eyes of Miss Erray” to see how subtle yet significant the jump is for the band. This would have been an introspective track on Satori, yet the playful hook and driving rhythm help propel the song to a different level. Hell, each and every track on Connector is a winner, save for the one track most would have expected greatness. “Friends” features Say Anything’s Max Bemis, and, while it’s a great song, it feels slightly underwhelming amidst the rest of the tracklist. It’s unfortunate.
The whole band is on the top of their game on Connector. The rhythm section is always on point. However, this is really the guitar and voice show, which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who’s ever heard I the Mighty. Brent’s smart and poignant lyrics are as good as ever, not as focused this go-round on relationships; Brent is clearly more focused outward, looking for a way to connect everything. For I the Mighty, music is the proper connector in a world of barriers. By the sounds of Connector, the band has largely succeeded on that mission. This is a fantastic statement from a fantastic band. It may be a tad too melodic for some, but this is no sophomore slump. Connector is the culmination of a band taking its potential and showcasing how powerful and impressive it can be. I the Mighty should be a (pun intended) mighty force this Summer.