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Wayne Szalinski – Black Mirror

18 Nov

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Album Review
By: Anthony Kowalik

Michigan band Wayne Szalinski’ s debut album “Black Mirror” is an impressive and complex indie record with a medley of musical elements. The powerful lyrics accompany pop like hooks and alternative surf rock guitar tones to create a unique representation of emo noir. All throughout the record the longing in the singers voice pushes a theme of complicated love. The lyrics are powerful, and not just powerful but meaningful in a darkly poetic sense. They carry a real weight. Only the singer knows exactly what painful moments he’s singing about, yet its worded in such a way that makes it applicable to anyone in a heart aching relationship situation. Those lyrics may hit too close to home at times but the tempo won’t let you get too down. No matter how up tempo the songs become at times, it can’t be confused with upbeat, as the lyrics stay grounded in the darkened theme throughout the record and melodically it is at best described as ironically positive.

Hitting play on the first track, “Sweetness”, opens a door and puts you in a room where someone is in the middle of some sort of breakup breakdown and judging by the tone of his voice this person is letting out a whole lot of suppressed emotion. There is uncertainty of love as he questioningly sings “will you be in your apartment tonight? Will I be in your mind?” The later especially is an honest and heartfelt question that is begging for answers. It works well as the first track of this record because it sets the tone for the rest of the record both thematically and emotionally.

The majority of the songs on Wayne Szalinski’s, Black Mirror, have an uptempo groove to them melodically. The guitar rips through and drives the songs along. There is a stable drum sound that fills all the gaps and keeps pace along with the bass line that even gets jazzlike at times, most notably when it gets to the higher noted grooves. The vocals are filled with lyrical honesty and emotion, singing from a place of both learned heartache and of a pain still being felt from past experiences.

This record has serious hooks. The songs seem to stay with you whether you are lyrically or rhythmically driven. Songs like “Kiss Me In the City”, “In the Morning”, and “Tell Me Lover” have a more driving pace. All three of these choruses posses that ear worm capability. The cadence used in the vocals is unique and also classic at times. Singing “tell me lover what’s gone wrong…” in a similar cadence to the Tears for Fears classic “every body wants to rule the world” works well in that arrangement. In “Kiss Me In the City” the lyrics “oh, what’s the use in staying here, it’ll never be alright for you and I” in such a way that it doesn’t come off as something nearly as sad as that real life realization usually is.

As catchy as the uptempo songs are, the band may be at their best in the slower arrangements. The lyrics come to full darkness when they slow it down a little on songs “Yr Jewelry” and “Some Collagist”. The lyrics “your love won’t change overnight, my love won’t change overnight –i’m wandering tonight” on the track “Yr Jewelry” would not be as effective in a more uptempo arrangement. It makes you think if maybe some of the deeper lyrics and their meanings in the jumpier songs get overshadowed by that pace at times.

Wayne Szalinski showed in their debut album, Black Mirror, that they are a tight band, have the musical skills to do exactly what they want musically and the powerful lyrics to ground it. It’s a record you’ll find company in during those moments when you find yourself lying awake in the darkness at 3am, running through all of your worst past and present heart aching relationship scenes.

Click play to watch the guys perform “Sweetness” on AudioTree.

To purchase a copy of Black Mirror, click here.

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