Ten years in, and I The Mighty are back with their fourth album Where The Mind Wants To Go / Where You Let It Go. Not the snappiest title compared to their previous offerings, but as well as the longer title there’s a new layer of greatness to this San Franciscan four-piece’s signature prog-rock. In frontman Brent Walsh’s words the album is the “culmination of years of inspiration and energy”, so I couldn’t wait to get stuck into it…
The first track Degenerates eases you into the album with a beautifully mellow intro and verse. The drums kick in at the chorus and the energy Walsh described is suddenly present, and keeps growing throughout the rest of the song (and album). This track celebrates the fact that no one is perfect: we are all degenerates and I’m definitely a fan. Next up is the catchy Pet Names, one of my favourites on the album. Here the band brings back their familiar anthemic sound with the addition of some pitch-bending guitar ringing out over the verse. This builds to an almost pop-punk chorus full of heavy chords and effortless vocals that immediately gets into my head. The surprisingly upbeat result is at perfect odds with the content of this track, which is about getting over an ex (or, more accurately, not getting over them).
This is followed up by Chaos in Motion, the second single to be released from the album and a solid mid-tempo track of steady percussion with a playful melody alongside the chorus. If you haven’t already seen the video then check it out: chances are you’ll hate it (you’ll see what I mean).
The energy is then back up to full pelt with the first of the album’s two title tracks, Where The Mind Wants To Go. It is dominated by Walsh’s impressive range of vocals and an unusual structure, with Blake Dahlinger’s dynamic rhythms dropping in and out keeping me on my toes. A blissful breakdown halfway through swiftly evolves into the heaviest few seconds of the album where the raw emotion of the track comes out in the form of Walsh’s discordant angry yells.
Cascading guitar notes introduce Symphony of Skin, a sure contender for my favourite track here. The fast-paced verse throws itself into a slower chorus fuelled by more of Dahlinger’s crashing beats and the result matches the lyrics exactly, perfectly capturing the excitement of getting close to someone new.
Sleepwalker comes with another round of heartfelt vocals and masterfully dreamy guitar. In fact the guitar throughout the whole album from Pedigo and Walsh is masterful: definitely up to the high standard set by previous releases. Next up Escapism provides a contrast of sound with its barrage of distorted grungy guitar, which makes way for a bouncy chorus that had me putting it on repeat.
111 Winchester has a different feel to the rest of the album. The descriptive vocals and atmospheric build-up take you into a haunted house of shadows and ghosts. It’s a creepy yet fun track with a lively chorus and is underpinned by some of Chris Hinckley’s most kick-ass basslines. The next track is The Sound of Breathing, a sombre number dealing with regret over failed relationships. Standout features for me here are the poignant lyrics and yet more hypnotic guitar and synth melodies.
The album’s first single, Silver Tongues was released back in August and features Tilian, singer of Dance Gavin Dance and a close friend of the band. His addition is top-notch and each layer of this carefully crafted track comes together to produce something incredible.
Finally we come to the second title track Where You Let It Go. Epic and ethereal, it questions whether we’re just energy out in the universe. It’s deep stuff and reminds me of the opening track of their last album Connector. But, hey, even if we are just energy I’m not sure I care when there’s bands like this to listen to!
Not surprisingly this album has continued in the direction expected from I The Mighty, but it does so in a truly unpredictable way. Any of these tracks would be a treat to see live, and I’m jealous of anyone who’s got tickets to their dates in the UK (supporting Bayside) and US later this year! I may be finished with this review but I’m definitely not finished with WTMG/WYLIG…