Michael Nau & The Mighty Thread - Less Than Positive

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:9 Release Date:2018-08-03
Michael Nau & The Mighty Thread - Less Than Positive
Michael Nau & The Mighty Thread - Less Than Positive

At this moment in time, Michael Nau (with or without The Mighty Thread) is one of those musical pleasures you can chance upon by scouring pages and pages of musical offerings on Bandcamp, Soundcloud or other online music services. Hopefully, after Less Than Positive, his third album offering and the first with The Mighty Thread, his now ‘official’ band, encountering music might not only come by chance.

Nau has been around for a while, starting out as Cotton Jones Basket Ride with his musical partner and wife Whitney McGraw, and then coming out with Mowing, his first solo album proper in 2016, that was followed by Some Twist in 2017. Personally, I had the luck to encounter Nau with Mowing upon its release and both his previous albums somehow keep creeping into my playlists more often than some ‘better known’ stuff. Based on those two, Nau seems to have developed into a minor key master of subdued psych/folk-pop/rock (with the accent on pop) and a twist of soul music to boot, with a brilliant sense of melody and a nifty touch for the lyrics that go along.

Are there changes on Less Than Positive? None in style and concept, just that Nau's songs are getting better and better. Another change for the better is that there is a clarity in sound, which must be quite a trick since the album was recorded in guitarist Benny Yurco’s one-bedroom apartment. The setup being the rhythm section in the bedroom, the guitar amp in the bathroom, vocals and piano in the living room and vibraphone in the kitchen. Talking about new concepts in ‘bedroom pop’!

The thing is, Less Than Positive transcends all bedroom pop stereotypes, unless you exclude some outstanding pop melodies like “Shadow On” “Far The Far”, or basically any of the 11 tunes on the album. Nau and the band seem to have hit some sort of synergic groove that is right on the pulse of what can be labelled ‘summer music’, playable at any time of the year. And it certainly fits into a one-bedroom apartment that produces a sound of a luxury penthouse studio.

Making two excellent albums in a row can be a chance, three turns into a pattern.

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