OK, let’s start with a couple of caveats. Number 1, yes I know this album came out at the beginning of the year. I’m a little slow and we didn’t have a website up then, stuff it. Number 2 being that I’m incredibly torn by this band primarily because the more and more I listen to them, the more I want to pull them out of the category of “alternative” or “indie” pop, like the bands that have come before them (Walk the Moon, Bleachers, etc) and slide them straight into the “pop” category. Caveat number 3 is that I largely wanted to hear their debut album based on the release of one song, Reflections, which was originally released as a single while they were finishing the album. I say these are caveats because I am not a fan of pop music, or even alternative pop music for that matter. In fact, I am probably the worse person to review an album like this because as a genre I tend to avoid anything with the term “pop” attached to it. On top of that, even in this new world of listening to an entire album from start to finish without paying for it (before I start hearing the boos from the audience and the feds start knocking on my door, I only mean listening to it on a paid for streaming service). I rarely listen to an entire album based on a single track. It’s ridiculous, I know, but old habits die hard.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get back to the reason why we’re here. The freshman effort by MisterWives, Our Own House, while overall is a good effort, fell flat for me.
Before we get too much into the “why I didn’t” side of things, let’s cover what’s really good about this album. First and what is unmistakenly the signature of the band is the amazingly talented singer Mandy Lee. While having a distinctively strong and melodic voice, her lyrics are smart and catchy like on the second track of the album “Not Your Way”, a 2015 anthem to feminism. It’s upbeat sound and strong lyrics will keep this song stuck in your head for days to come.
Moving right along, the band’s sound, while still under that ole’ pop genre is incredibly refreshing in this day and age of crossover alt-pop, divas and overplayed hip-hop. There are moments on this album where the beats and rhythm literally take you by the hand and by god, for someone who cannot, will not and should not dance, will make you want to. No better example of this is their track “Reflections”, which is by far the best part of the album. Lee’s voice is perfection in this song and the band’s sound makes you wonder how this song was not the hit of the summer.
At this point, if you’re truly interested in this album read no further because this is where things go south. After listening to this album a number of times I couldn’t shake the feeling that it was released too early. Most of the tracks on the album don’t seem to fit together. No matter how much I wanted to give this album a chance, I just couldn’t do it. What the band does well in songs like Reflections and Not Your Way does not carry over into the rest of the album. What makes me feel worse is that there are tracks like Oceans and Best I can do that make me wonder if MisterWives should have written these for Taylor Swift or Lorde because that just how these songs sound… already done.
Given how new this band is and what they’ve done in a very short time, I can say that while I’m not totally in love with this album, I’ll be keeping an eye out for the sophomore effort.