Over the last two years Mike Meinke has put together a new band to expand on his solo work releasing a couple of singles along with live outings on the way, and now a debut EP, Mapacho.
From the off it’s clear that the band, made up of Meinke on vocals and guitar, Charlie Holmes on bass and Christiaan ‘Squirrel’ Mariess on drums, have taken what they’ve been doing so successfully live and built on it capturing their organic live feel and adding a few nice studio touches.
Opener UFO joins last summer’s single Secret Information (which also appears on the EP) in being something slightly new for Mike as songs with a message related to (loosely) current affairs, adding a satirical edge to things without becoming cynical and, crucially, remaining extremely musically upbeat and danceable in their way.
Along with those we get two tracks previously heard on The Other World project, Ashram Traffic Jam and As The Rivers Flow, but with a rockier aspect added to the folky twangs.
Ashram Traffic Jam maintains its excellent groove which, if anything, is elevated further, while As The Rivers Flow demonstrates Mike’s impressive dexterity on guitar while throwing in a great positive message.
The set is rounded off by the title track, Mapacho, which at nearly nine minutes, is something of a departure from the rest of the record.
Starting with a far more acoustic guitar based than the rest it builds around a lyrical ode to the titular South American hallucinogen with swirling electric guitars played by Lord Vapour’s Henry Fears added to the mix to create a transporting groove intended, I assume, to create a musical approximation of the subject.
As a song it’s one I could see getting a crowd going live while being equally effective in a still dark room at home and, despite its duration, it still feels like its final fade out comes too soon.
The Mapacho EP then sees Mike Meinke expand into what he’s been hinting at both live and on record over the last couple of years, taking his now well known template and adding a rock band aspect to it.
In this we get something that merges folk and hip hop with grunge, indie and psychedelia layered in such a way to create some fabulous textures (aided by Flexagon’s production flourishes) and I hope this is a project that we hear more from in the future.