Singer/songwriter Michael Behm may write about saving America, but his musical instincts were carved overseas, from the buoyant harmonies and crisp guitar jangle of The Beatles. Being blatantly inspired by The Beatles is nothing new; in fact, Oasis rocketed to stardom from it. What separates Behm from his fellow Fab Four disciples is that the influence can only be heard on the surface level; beneath it, there’s a distinct personality breathing and exhaling its own air. Lyrically, Behm is far from copping John Lennon or Paul McCartney. The title track originates from a unique perspective, a foreigner (Behm is Canadian) lamenting the tarnished image of the United States. Of course, this is due to the wrecking crew of George W. Bush and his cronies. Behm isn’t bashing the country; rather, he’s saddened by how its ideals were corrupted (“You bought the allusion/ By kissing the ring of your redneck king”). It is powerful songwriting but Behm flavors the tune with sweet, power-pop hooks that, even if the message is lost, it’ll still ring in the ears hours after the CD has stopped playing.
“The Art of Letting Go” and “Ticket to Heaven” is some of this year’s best Britpop, albeit made in Canada. It’s easy to get swept up into the momentum of Behm’s infectiously melodic pop/rock. One could easily envision him opening up for Crowded House, another act with a serious crush on The Beatles and, like Behm, were able to inject their own flavors into the mix. There are times, especially on “Don’t Believe,” wherein Behm recalls fellow Canadian Raine Maida of Our Lady Peace; however, the music definitely isn’t grunge despite the flashes of fuzz here and there. The finale, “Take Me Down to the River,” is Behm at his most aggressive but it is classic, fist-pumping rock and roll, the kind with which Bruce Springsteen can stir up a stadium.
Michael Behn: www.michaelbehmmusic.com