Sometimes, events in life don’t go as planned and, what’s worse is that when one thing goes wrong, it all seems to go wrong. You feel as though you want to give up, just stop trying… you need a break but life seems to have other plans for you. The saying goes that “it’s always darkest before the dawn” and, just as suddenly as you’ve hit rock bottom, things begin to turn around. This is life’s way of testing you, having you prove that you can handle whatever it throws at you. Certainly, this was the case for Kansas City’s Mime Game, who have had a rough road, leading up to their upcoming, debut album which is appropriately titled The Upswing. The brainchild of vocalist/guitarist Dillon DeVoe (ex-Josephine Collective), this band is one of the most impressive I’ve heard in years. Rounding out the band are guitarist Colt Coan (also the band’s photographer/videographer), bass guitarist Kevin Mears and drummer Timothy James “TJ” Murphy, who each add a creative flair of their own. A refreshing and breathtaking mixture of 90’s pop, alternative rock with a slight indie vibe to it… this band was ready for the big time the moment they began writing.
The band emerged from the shadows with our premiere of their debut single, “Heavy Heart” which has a lot of different elements to it, musically. From 80’s synth-pop in the bridge, strings in the chorus, a light, airy melody in the main riff and so much more. DeVoe has a unique, distinctive voice that jumps out at you the moment you hear it and he conveys so much emotion, it’s almost unbelievable. Songwriters such as Chris Carrabba (Dashboard Confessional), Anthony Green (Circa Survive), and (featured on the album) Chris Conley (Saves the Day) are all very present in his delivery and his style but it’s still very much his own.
Musically, the band loves to mess with your head. Just when you think you’ve got a grasp on where the song is headed, they’ll change up tempo and do something completely out of left field. Perhaps the only song that doesn’t have that quality to it is “The End,” which is one of my favorite tracks on the album. There’s an emotional intensity that is here that is almost unmatched throughout the rest of the album. “We define what we love, with a passionate chorus. Redefine what you love, and it starts right now” sings DeVoe. This is an ultimate testament to how music can change who you are and, ultimately, help shape you into who you’re destined to become.
If you want an example of how their music is able to convey emotion, just as much as DeVoe’s lyrics, take a listen to the track “Murderer.” This is a man who has had his heart ripped out of his chest by someone who, he thought, was the one. For anyone who has had that type of emotional attachment to someone, it will definitely tug at your heart strings. Throughout each chorus, you’ll find yourself getting empowered and eventually telling yourself that you don’t need that poison in your life. This track would fit perfectly in with a number of 90’s alt-rock tracks that I’ve got in a playlist for when I’m feeling nostalgic.
The album ebbs and flows, twists and turns and refuses to leave your mind… even weeks after first listening to it. You’ll find yourself singing it at the most inopportune times because it will envelop you, in an effortless attempt to become your new favorite album. I love that each track has its own build-up, while the album doesn’t really climax, rather it continues to hit you in your feelings, every single second. We close with “Burn” which features the phenomenal Chris Conley (Saves the Day) and is probably one of the best songs that the band has ever written, as it’s a direct tribute to the bands (such as Saves the Day) who influenced these guys and compel them to write music.
The Upswing, next to A Life In Arm’s Reach’s Vintage Postcards, is my most-played album in my entire library of music. There’s not a single second I find myself disappointed, let down or not hungry for more. It’s explosive, emotional and will capture your heart like few before it. The band will be playing the main stage at So What?! Music Fest in Dallas and will be playing their album release show at The Riot Room in Kansas City (details below.) A physical release is planned, so stay tuned for more details there but pick up your pre-order of The Upswing on iTunes for now, as well as some sweet merch in their webstore! This is only the beginning and 2017 is the catalyst that will propel them to the top, quicker than you can blink an eye! The Upswing is out this Friday, March 24th, so mark those calendars!