Standing Inside A Shadow

Mico - Standing Inside A Shadow ©2001 Does Everyone Stare?
1. Section One
2. Motion
3. Bad Idea
4. Hallyon Day
5. Casual Handshake
6. 18.12.79
7. Everywhere
8. Found In Your Possession
9. A Timpani Of Failure And Defeat
10. Six Stages Of Illusion
11. Horizon

For the forty minute duration of Mico's Standing Inside a Shadow, the seige is lifted and my hatred for emo is suspended. Spinning out a solemn soundtrack to the still city nights pictured in the CD booklet, Mico strike not a single false note, make not a single wrong turn, or turn out a single processed emotion. Do I stutter? This is understated, subtle music; Mico displays the understanding of punk, pop, and emo for which Casket Lottery has toiled, Rainer Maria has conquered, and Third Eye Blind should ever forget about apprehending.

First order of business are the guitarists which another reviewer has cleverly called a "guitarmy" (wish I'd thought of it.) Mico is a quintet and three of them play guitar. Here's the rub: the playing is pretty basic. While they could, I'm sure, kick out some testosterone-fuelled triple-guitar solos a la Leatherwolf, the net effect here instead is a style of lush, flowing sound that ceaselessly washes the listener in a range of delicate power-pop instrumental dynamics and a rather straight forward melodic style of punk. The music lacks the sanguine hooks of the very similar sounding Gin Blossoms (who were much smarter than anyone was willing to admit, it seemed), but it is also edgier, more melancholic, and relies less on a verse-chorus-verse format. If Rainer Maria and Gin Blossoms occupy the open spaces of pop rock, Mico stalk the shadows (ah, the romance, don't you love it?).

Standing Inside a Shadow is a magnificent debut album. It is careful, intelligent, and comes away with the thorny emo sythesis of quiet, indignant rage balanced with heartfelt emotion (wipe the smirk off your face.) Intense, strangely gentle, and thoughtful music for murky introspection.

Review by Lee Steadham

Review date: 07/2001

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