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Just Before Dark

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Album Review

Mike Viola takes a left turn on Just Before Dark. The nominal leader of Candy Butchers, after three studio albums for RPM Records, the first two boasting major-label distribution, abandons his group moniker as well as his record label and even the recording studio for this collection of new songs. He launches his own label, Good Morning Monkey Records, with a solo live recording cut on July 19, 2005, at the Los Angeles nightclub Largo. This is a deliberately modest effort, nine songs in less than 29 minutes, with Viola accompanying himself on acoustic guitar or piano, plus a little harmonica, joined only by Inara George, who duets on "A Way to Say Goodbye." Thus, a man with a demonstrated love of the studio and of sonic gimmickry abandons all that to get up close and personal. Similarly, at least at first he also abandons his sense of irony, along with his gruff rock voice, in favor of sincerity, intimacy, and a focus on his upper vocal range that lends him sweetness and sensitivity. The kinder, gentler Mike Viola lasts for over half the album, but by the time of the seventh track, "Clusterf**k," he is introducing some of his usual wit and wordplay. Just Before Dark may be his Joni Mitchell move, but he is unable to stay "Blue" all the way through.

Customer Reviews

Just Before Dark

Mike Viola comes from that rich tradition of post Beatle song craft that began in the 70s with Emitt Rhodes and then later was carried through by Neil Finn and Elliott Smith. Yet despite these comparisons Viola's music is entirely his own. This album, his first as a solo artist, finds Viola playing live, with acoustic guitar, in front of an audience in what sounds like a warm and intimate setting. As you begin to play "Just Before Dark", sit back relax and enjoy this beautiful music, which takes you on gentle journey from heart wrenching ballads through to stories of the wonder of love and hope. Play this music after a hard day and whatever you have been through Mike Viola will make you feel that it’s all still worthwhile. Also check out his other CD's with Candy Butchers.


GREAT Stuff!!!!

Happy to see you here.

I'm thrilled to see Mike Viola's new album on iTunes. I would recommend this and any other of his or Candy Butcher CD's. There are songs that are deeply touching to being just a whole lot of fun. I don't think anyone will be disappointed. Congrats Mike on an other great album. Keep them coming.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Power pop singer/guitarist Mike Viola was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, and had self-released a solo album before teaming with schoolmate Todd Foulsham in the short-lived '80s band Snap! Viola and Foulsham then relocated to New York City and formed the Candy Butchers; Viola also played with local pop bands including Ivy and They Might Be Giants' John Flansburgh's side project Mono Puff. With Ivy's Adam Schlesinger, he co-wrote and sang the Grammy-winning title song to Tom Hanks' 1996...
Full Bio
Just Before Dark, Mike Viola
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Customer Ratings