Move Toward the Exit
One Mad Son
Kicking off like a frantic Jon Spencer on “Whores And Love,” Justin Mikulka doesn’t step too lightly on this, his third album, one that’s chock full of dark folk music — or perhaps pretty pop songs twisted into some eerie, cynical blues. At times, the results are amazing, such as on the murmured, twangy “Fast Enough” or the mad country that is “Shadows and the Slide,” while other songs are simply Mikulka treading water — the Eddie Vedder-ish pomp of “Kept” being a case in point. The singer-songwriter game is a tough one, it’s hard to keep the listener’s interest for an entire album when all you’ve got to rely on are yourself and your songs. Impressively, although he’s brought in a couple of people to help out on a few of the tracks, Mikulka is actually at his finest when the setting is at its most basic. The Elliot Smith-ish “Slow Learner” is a standout, as is the haunting “Willfully Reverse.” A fine vocalist and an evocative songwriter, Mikulka has made an album that’s well worth the attention of anyone with a soft spot for contemporary, bluesy singer-songwriters.
Justin Mikulka: http://home.earthlink.net/~onemadson/justinmikulka.html