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Electro de Perfecto

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Album Review

After years of failed efforts to engage the major-league recording industry (which has never been especially enthusiastic about the sort of smart, edgy pop that's his stock in trade), Mike Viola seems to have resigned himself to having a cult following, which isn't a bad thing as far as his art is concerned. As Viola has adjusted his expectations, he's allowed more of his personal quirks to rise to the surface, and 2011's Electro de Perfecto demonstrates he still writes pop melodies to die for but also has some neuroses that make for compelling, darkly witty listening. Electro de Perfecto was recorded with Viola on guitar, Sean Hurley on bass, and Victor Indrizzo on drums, and they're a tight, tuneful, and lively rhythm section who bring Viola's tunes to scrappy life, with the performances hitting a grace note between new wave-ish power pop, lovely Beatles-influenced melodicism, and tuneful but unvarnished rock & roll. As for the lyrics, there are a few unabashed love songs here, particularly the gorgeous "Soundtrack of My Summer" (which in a just world would be a hit single) and "Get You Back," but Viola spends more time peering into a variety of insecurities and obsessions: a misfit's need to be loved ("I sing about love, but I don't really know what it is," he confesses in "El Mundo de Perfecto"), various slow paths to self-destruction ("Closet Cutter" ponders addiction and self-mutilation while name-checking the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and Kim Fowley, and the title to "Me and My Drinking" sums it up nicely), one man's failures with both romance and cocaine ("Here's the Rub"), and unfortunate romantic obsession (sleeplessness feeds a man's troubling thoughts of his ex in "When the Stars Are Against You"). But Viola's fascination with the trickier side of human nature isn't morbid, but the work of a good storyteller who isn't interested in an easy out, and this is pop music that's as hummable as you could hope for while dealing with the sticky matters of the grown-up heart and soul, portrayed with a clear eye and admirable intelligence. Electro de Perfecto might not be the cheeriest album of Viola's career, but it's great music from a songwriter who is as brave as he is gifted.

Customer Reviews

Bench clearing gloves off goddamn genius

i simply can't get enough of this man.
song after song after song,
i'm singing out loud... so there.

Power Pop Ear Candy

I love Mike's work, and I've been anxiously awaiting this album's arrival for many months. After hearing "El Mundo de Perfecto" and "Soundtrack of My Summer" (and a few others) at his shows for some time, I couldn't wait to have the finished versions in my hands. Another solid, sweet project from Mike. Want to check out his back catalog? Make sure you search out Candy Butchers - that's him, too. Also check out his work w/ Mandy Moore, Kelly Jones, Bleu (The Major Labels) and regular collaborator Adam Schlesinger, among others.

With every project, collaboration, and album, I find myself singing the same refrain - why isn't this guy better known?!? Never mind - what's important is that you know about him now! If you're lucky enough to live in L.A. or NYC, you can catch him playing semi-regular shows, and this fall (2011) you can see him with Rachael Yamagata at shows up and down the west and east coast - that's gotta be an interesting collaboration, right? Catch him live and you'll enjoy a personal, intimate, and really fun show. See if you don't get swept up in the feel-goodness.

More Mike Viola goodness

Great album by an incredibly talented singer/songwriter/producer. Just really strong song writing, something lacking in today's mainstream popular music. How does he keep coming up with such catchy tunes?!!? A GREAT power pop, power trio album. Worth getting the entire album.

Biography

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
Electro de Perfecto, Mike Viola
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