Title: Is Itching To Play
Artist: Dr. Mindflip
Release Date: April, 2014
Genre: Piano Pop
License: CC BY-NC-ND
Label: Blocsonic / Bandcamp
Dr. Mindflip’s itch was first implanted in me when I came across the video for ‘Losing It’ in the blocSonic channel on YouTube earlier this year. But, I was a bit baffled by blocSonic’s description of Dr. MindFlip’s style:
Imagine, if you will, Nick Cave being held hostage by Frank Zappa and the Pixies in deep space… well that comes a little close…
The Pixies and Frank Zappa don’t really fit. Nick Cave is a good comparison, you can definitely hear elements of Nick’s style in Dr. Mindflip. Personally, I would select Nick Cave, Ben Folds, Wilco rolled into a style touched with psychedelia and melancholy with lyrical gymnastics.
I wanted to review his first release, but I had a lot of newer releases in the queue, so I decided to keep it on-hand if I needed to fill a gap. Instead there is a newer release from Dr. Mindflip for me to review now.
Dr. Mindflip Is Itching To Play
Dr. Mindflip is Patrick McGlynn from Dublin, Ireland. On this latest release he strips down his production and arrangements to the bare minimum: vocals and piano. Stripped bare of all the trappings of his first release, hist talent shines in its purest form, without the trappings of complex arrangements and high-end production. This could almost called a lo-fi release, but that would be treating this release with disrespect. Instead, I like to think of it as simple and direct.
But, that’s not to say there aren’t any production tricks in this release. The multi-tracked vocal harmonies and some subtle sound effects on ‘Too Little / Too Late’ break the spell of this being a simple man-and-his piano recording.
But with the more stripped down, straight on production comes a lot of space to focus on the lyrics of the songs. And it’s within them that you find the gems of his unique perspective on the world, such as these lines from ‘Going Through The Motions’:
I’m digging it out
It’s something to get freaky about
I’m building it now
It’s reinforced for when shit gets loud
It’s in the ground
A fallout shelter for this Late Late town
I’m digging a hole
A reservoir for my soul
And another example from ‘Give Me A Sign’:
The winter stripped my muscles bare
Black icicles and solitaire
And no one seemed to hang around
Hallucinations fill the air
Old bicycles and rusty hair
That disappear without a sound
When I stare
To say he has a confessional style of artists like Tori Amos would be selling him short. Yes, there are hallmarks of that style in his lyrics, but it’s really his observations of the rest of the world that propel his images, like his take on the office slave labor force today (from ‘Workin”):
It’s the unconscious dose
Aspire to exist only
In a daze while they expire slowly
Know where they’ll lead us
Nowhere to lead us
What can I say about Dr. Mindflip? Here is an artist that has a clear vision. He draws on the style of artists that are fitting to his style music: Wilco, Nick Cave, Ben Folds. His lyrical style is direct and slightly mind-bending at times – one of the best qualities of Tori Amos. He isn’t Justin Beiber or Drake, and that’s a good thing. We need more artists that have a future, that aren’t a flash in the pan. The stronger the artist, the more likely they are to have a long career in music in my opinion. Dr. Mindflip is one of my choices for artists with a bright, long career ahead of him.
(An aside: I just had a thought of a dream team: Dr. Mindflip and Professor Kliq. I get a vibe that these two artists would work well together, and a release from them would be really special. Hint hint hint…)