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Album Review: Mike Huguenor ‘Bardamu’

In Music
Mike Activate

Mike Huguenor, known as the longtime lead singer/guitarist for local indie-jangle-pop group Shinobu, has released his first entirely solo EP with all instruments—excluding a trumpet part on the opening song—performed by himself.

The EP, Bardamu, was released digitally on August 1st on Quote Unquote Records, and will be available on vinyl from Suitors Club Records later this month. For fans already familiar with Huguenor’s quirky, brainy, self-depreciating songwriting, the songs from Bardamu come off a little straight-forward, at least on the first listen. Repeat listens reveal an understated weirdness different than his previous work.

The opening track, “Agues,” could almost pass for a standard guitar-driven power-pop song. Though upon further inspection, the offbeat swagger and strange post-punk chord structures are similar to his songwriting in Shinobu, just a little more subtle.

“Montreal” starts out as the most standard track on the album. It’s a guitar ballad with a linear build, but as the song progresses the softer part develops a slightly drunken beat. When the song reaches its full dynamic peak, Huguenor plays a Pavement-esque guitar solo, artistically straddling the line between in and out of key, never quite hitting that one note to give it resolution.

Fans of Huguenor’s more overt self-depreciating ramblings, will delight in the third track, “Great Plans,” which features drum machines, power-chords and a catchy slacker-anthem chorus. (“I’ve got some great plans that will never come to fruition/I’ve got some great plans that will never see the light of day.”) It’s conflicted, introverted indie rock at its finest.

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