Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Review: My Pet Dragon “Mountains and Cities”

Pop rock
We last heard from My Pet Dragon back in April 2010 when we reviewed their excellent maxi-single, “Lover In Hiding” (see review here). Now they are back with a new full-length album entitled, “Mountains and Cities”, which happens to feature “Lover In Hiding”. The band started as a duo consisting of New York singer/songwriter Todd Michaelsen and Indian dancer/actress Reena Shah, but has since blossomed into a five piece outfit. The early buzz helped to recruit Stevo George (the original drummer for Ministry) to produce the record.

I absolutely love the vocals of Michaelsen – soft yet soaring, this guy has a beautiful pop rock tone and keen instincts for what to do with the lyrical line. Moreover, the group never seems to miss placing in plentiful harmonies and backing vocals in an attempt to raise the hairs on the back of your neck. In terms of the songwriting, “Mountains and Cities” has its peaks and valleys, but the peaks are quite an experience. Opening track “Majestic Lovers” certainly lives up to its grandeur, easing itself into your ears where the sweet sounds of Michaelsen will lift you right out of your seat. The chorus is mesmerizing with its hook and harmonies, reminding me of Keane at their best. “Moonshine” picks up the pace and proves to be a fun and memorable ride, fitting the celebratory lyrical content. “Love Anthem” contains distorted vocals in the verses and some other experimentation that just doesn’t work for me – the Radiohead-like chorus is pretty great, though. “U R” returns to the affable upbeat sound with 80s overtones I find appealing. Other highlights are squeezed onto the end of the record in the gorgeously peppy “Songbird” and engaging title track.

I’d recommend My Pet Dragon for fans of Muse, Coldplay, and early Radiohead.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 5, 8, 11, 12

My Pet DragonOfficial site.

Check out the video for “Moonshine”

My Pet Dragon "Moonshine" from My Pet Dragon on Vimeo.

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