Fusing a little of The Temper Trap with Of Monsters and Men-style vocal pairing, and a poetic, melodically entrancing songwriting style fit for the likes of Coldplay, Miccoli introduce themselves with soul and strength on this album.
Leading with the delicately intensifying weight and warmth of Idle Stranger, the band move with concepts and the fine art of sound design – breathy, whispered vocals lead into the harder hit of the hook – meanwhile light electronic guitar solos rain down and descend in unison with the chord progression. It’s an easy ambiance to get lost within, familiar yet fresh in content, and a wonderful way to kick off the album.
Miccoli are a trio, three siblings – united by blood and music – knowing this lays bare a whole new sentimental connection within their songs.
Fear sees the band lean towards the xx a little, simplicity and self-contemplation drive, reflections on life and the human experience. A dash of Americana shines through in the leading vocal, raspy yet intentional, and brilliantly expressive. This song in particular lays bare the beauty of these voices amidst a fascinating, engaging soundscape. The drop to the hook works beautifully, the song keeps you on your toes and subsequently uplifts as it evolves and grows stronger.
Arrhythmia as a full project is really this conceptually thoughtful journey, the sort that insomniacs and deep thinkers will likely connect with and revel in. Minimalism takes over in many cases, letting these precise expressions and fragments of ideas strike out in a softly powerful way. Devices is a gorgeously soulful and interesting example – a personal highlight, surprisingly memorable; leaving its hook and melodic development lingering after listening.
The album is fourteen tracks deep – a rare quality these days. In many cases (all but three), the song titles utilize a single word, provoking thought but also prompting you to listen more intently to capture the essence of each piece. The further into the playlist you get, the more the overall story-line and purpose of the project makes itself known.
Addiction stands out, a heavy drum-line creates a sense of drama, the longer-form melodic verses offer a pop-inspired sentiment with rising anticipation. Lights afterwards continues with the brightness and the pop-inspired accessibility. This central section offers more energy and optimism than before. Magnify furthers it but seems to prove more seductive and juxtaposed, with a free-flowing melody and various layers that intertwine to raise the pace.
In some cases, musicality and melodic flow overpower the underlying concepts of the songs – not a bad thing, just easy music to enjoy. Elsewhere though, moments less poetic and more personal emerge, and these moments allow the listener to feel a sense of understanding and belonging with the band. Angels & Demons is a fine example.
By now, the band’s sound – those voices, this guitar tone, the dreamlike energy and embrace of the set-up – has a definite level of identity. All that’s left is to keep on connecting – keep bridging the gap, saying things that feel familiar yet new; finding expressive and brilliant ways to say things that are deeply relatable. Fortunately, Miccoli have mastered this art already, and the latter half of the album sees plenty more intimacy and honesty emerge amidst even more of these hypnotic ambiances. Tell Me is another highlight, a little familiar, a little unusual; the perfect balance.
Towards the end, Sirens injects a worthy hit of pop comfort – Ledge does too, hopeful and welcoming, musically impressive; a gorgeous cascading riff helps elevate things.
In some respects, this album compiles a few alternative versions of a single musical style and design – perhaps this is the band finding their feet, pushing something that works outwards in a few different directions. Perhaps though, this project in full is a mood – a moment to be witnessed, not unlike a film or a piece of theatre. Which brings me to the point that a live performance is undoubtedly where these songs would reach incredibly compelling new peaks.
The title track is a defiant highlight, melancholic enough to tug at the heart strings, energizing enough to utilize contrast and lift the air in the room. Home follows and feels mellow and heartfelt but alternative, a tad reminiscent of Half Moon Run.
Then the piano-led Replace pours through and absolutely breaks the mold – ending the album in an unexpected and haunting way – instrumentally pure, partly hopeful, partly tired and broken down. A beautiful piece of music. Arrythmia in full is a dream to spend time with. Absolutely one I’ll be revisiting.
“The word ‘Arrhythmia’ originates from late 19th century Greek ‘Arruthmia’ meaning lack of rhythm. Arrhythmia in a physical sense can be too slow, too fast, irregular or early. Symbolically Arrhythmia represents the ever-changing landscape of our lives and how we navigate its different patterns.”