Miracle of 86
Kevin Kolankowski CD - Immigrant Sun

Since his face appears on the album cover and his name is also the name of the record, you can’t help but wonder, who the hell is Kevin Kolankowski? Apparently, Kevin is a friend of the band who has accompanied them on various tours and filled in as drummer from time to time. According to the linear notes, “This record is what it sounds like when we play with him live.” So, there you have it. Rather than the raw and youthful aggression of the band’s excellent self-titled debut, Kevin Kolankowski features a more relaxed vibe, thanks largely to the acoustic guitars and gently brushed drums. As a result, these are songs better suited for the coffee shop open-mic night than the basement punk shows you imagined while listening to the band’s debut. And speaking of the debut, “A Less Important Place” and the excellent “Surprise Me” reappear this time around in more subdued form. The brief and untitled sixth track gives a quick burst of acoustic punk aggression, but the remainder of the eight tracks are very subdued, showcasing frontman Kevin Devine’s excellent songwriting skills and heartbreaking vocals. There is even a touch of country twang to songs like a cover of Bob Dylan’s “One Too Many Mornings,” but this drastic change from one album to the next is remarkably pulled off quite nicely. A cover of Pavement’s “Range Life” is also tossed in for good measure. ¶ If you are into recent acoustic indie rock like New Amsterdams or Rocky Votolato, you will be very into what the Miracle Of 86 has done here, and if you enjoy more raw and vibrant punk, go check out the band’s last record. But either way, it is pretty tough to go wrong with what these guys have accomplished thus far. (Eddie Fournier)



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