Mi Ami – Steal Your Face

January 01, 1970

(Thrill Jockey)

 

www.thrilljockey.com

 

The opening track on Mi Ami’s second album, Steal Your Face, mingles dubby bass,
polyrhythmic thump and sheets of clanging guitar underneath singer-guitarist
Daniel Martin-McCormack screechy rendition of lyrics familiar to Tom Tom Club
fans. If you dig the resultant clamor, settle in. If you’re not sure, stick
around anyway. “Harmonics (Genius of Love)” is the album’s most
obnoxious number, and the band goes (slightly) easier on the disc’s five
subsequent rampages.

 

“Obnoxious” is a descriptive term, not a value
judgment. Mi Ami wants to make a mess, drive most listeners away, and piss in
the punchbowl of sweet, mainstream pop. (In addition to borrowing the album’s
title from the Grateful Dead and words from the Tom Toms, the band lifts lines
from Bruce Springsteen and Whitney Houston.) The shrill timbres — vocal,
guitar and occasional synths — are designed to keep squalling romps like
“Slow” and the vidgame-bleepy “Latin Lover” off club PA’s,
despite Damon Palermo’s dance-worthy drumming. There used to be a word for
music this antagonistic:

punk.

 

If Steal Your Face sounds like the work of a ’90s Dischord band that’s opened itself to Fela Kuti,
free jazz and classic hip-hop, that’s about right. Although Mi Ami is based in San Francisco,
Martin-McCormack and bassist Justin Long were in Black Eyes, a D.C. quintet
that made two albums — one was great, the other strained too hard — for
Dischord. Steal Your Face is strained
in places, too, but Long and Palermo
keep the din on track. Their locomotion is so robust that it just might drive
Mi Ami onto some dance-club PA’s.

 

Standout Tracks: “”Latin Lover,” “Slow” MARK JENKINS

 

 

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