I had been patiently awaiting this 3 song acoustic release since it was first announced via Thumper Punk Records. So much about this little ep spells perfection to me. I have been a fan of Mike’s work since as long as I can remember. I first heard “Against The Grain” (Altar Boys) as a mere youngster just discovering what music was like in the 80’s and especially what “Christian” music would mean to me in later years.
Mike’s extremely diverse discography over the years with everything from Altar Boys, solo work, Clash Of Symbols, Altar Billies, and now this new rockabilly-acoustic leaning release, is nothing short of extraordinary and dare I say, LEGENDARY.
The ep starts with a souped up rockabilly (country-billy?) sound on the Altar Boys “cover” – “World Burning”, which is another personal favorite of mine from the Altar Boys catalog of work. The “Forever Mercy” pulled track is a perfect rendition of this now 28 year old song. It breathes new life into a song that certainly isn’t dated but hasn’t been heard much in recent years (outside of Altar Billies of course). The guitars, production, and sound quality on this song (and the other 2) is pure genius. A careful focus on detail and expert touch on sonic perfection. This fast paced acoustic barn-stormer brings focus on Mike’s still young, ageless voice, and exposes this songwriter for what he is: an unforgettable talent.
Track #2 is an acoustic version of the recent Altar Billies song “Long, Long Road”. This song version brings up a classic countrified, rockabilly take. The song sounds like it bursts right from the record players of the 1950’s. I enjoy this rendition quite a bit.
The ep ends with Track# 3, “Locomotive Don’t Pass Me By”. Another song that would have fit just fine in 1950’s America. Mike’s voice is steady and fluid in delivery. This isn’t some aging rocker with a warbly voice that time hasn’t been kind to. You know those rockers I’m talking about that continue to put out albums in their twilight years that just don’t sound good. Mike is unlike that and still shows a youthful delivery in the music he makes.
This ep although short packs quite a punch in the 10 minutes of music you are presented with. There is nothing to be disappointed with here. If you’re into acoustic leaning rockabilly music with a country twist, this ep is for you. The reason this ep gets a “4” and not a “5” is because of it’s length. When Mike releases his full length “solo” acoustic offering or the next Altar Billies release comes out, then a “5” will be properly given. I love eps and I love full length releases but 3 songs leaves me thirsting for more :)
Anyway, this is a solid and entertaining collection of songs and I eagerly await my vinyl copy. Between this and the other acoustic series especially the solid Sef Idle 3 song ep a few months ago, Thumper Punk is on a roll. I really hope TPR can convince Ted Bond (Craig’s Brother) to do one of these next.