Boston based singer-songwriter Mike DeBenedictis has released his long awaited second studio effort titled Middle Fidelity Blues. The follow up to 2011's Environs finds Michael returning to his folk based roots that were omnipresent on his last effort, and aims to reintroduce his sensibility to a anxious and waiting audience.
We kick things off with "Lemon Cello", an easy going, lightly melodic tune that gives the audience an idea as to Mike's strengths and capabilities as an artist that are floruishing immediately before you. "Youthful Optimism Revisited" starts out with a neat harmonica arrangement before settling into a steady acoustic guitar groove that lasts for a good duration of the song, and fills out the existing musical space nicely with Mike's simple vocals giving off a subtle energy that is very comforting and inviting. "Bull and Bear" is another solid effort featuring a more connecting bridge between the guitar that forges a musical connection between Mike that is wholly exclusive to this setting and gives you a unique listening experience that you can't find anywhere else. The title track is my favorite song off the album that evokes the style and feel that Mike was aiming for when he was crafting these tunes in the studio, featuring tightly wound vocals and sharp, poignant instrumentation at hand to give you an outlook as to the development of Mike as an artist from his last record.
"Ungalvanized Steel" begins the second half of the record with a calm, mellow feel to it that accurately portrays the personality that Mike evokes both on record and in person, and starts to develop an impression from the point of view from the listener as to what he's like from an emotional standpoint. "In Philadelphia" finds the common thread between all the songs, and gives the listener a little bit of variety in the process that will keep them tuned in right until the very end. "Fox Among Wolves" brings about a sense of finality as we get ready to close out the disc with terrific acoustic guitar mainframes and a neat harmonica base that brings it all home for us and adds a touch of authenticity as well. "Gin and Tectonics" ends it all here with a strong, harmonic edge to it that takes in some elements we've heard earlier on in the record and starts to develop an emotional connection between Mike and his music, plus a certain familiarity that will last long after this album has concluded. It's hard to believe it's been 3 years since Mike was last featured on the site, and one thing I've always appreciate about him was at how pure and simple he was, and how his music reflected who he was as a person and that it's all just him communicating directly with the audience about his thoughts and emotions.
All in all, a greatly churned out effort here from Mike DeBenedictis who picks up right where her left off from his last album, and seeks to continue his ongoing blend of simply arranged folk melodies that have a bare bones arrangement that you just don't see everyday.
Youthful Optimism Revisited
Simple Song For Cadillac Mountain
Bull and Bear
Middle Fidelity Blues
Been Here Before
Fox Among Wolves
Gin and Tectonics