Mip Power Trio – Haggard and Bedraggled
If you like catchy melodies, well-written truthful lyrics and balls-to-the-wall rock then the Mip
Power Trios new album, Haggard and Bedraggled is for you. It is a trip through punk, rock, folk/rock, country/rock and a few other things. The strength of these nine songs is, as always, Mips considerable way with words. The lyrics, just as on her album, Caught In Between, are witty, cutting, astute and quirky enough to keep you interested and the melodies are so dynamic and insanely catchy that your toes will ache from tapping them. And then there’s the head-banging. To say this is an eclectic mix is an understatement.
Grand Marquis is as punk as early Green Day with vocals Joan Jett would be jealous of. This song hits you like a ton of bricks as it follows the countryish, Hometown with it’s light-hearted melody and lilting chorus. Grand Marquis is a frantic dash down the street, tires squealing and the radio blasting Rancids Larry’s Dead. Whiskey Ain’t Cheap has probably the best line I’ve heard in a long time, “sipping on whiskey is too much of a luxury but in these times they want it even more”. The song itself follows Jack from college to real life and the hard times he encounters trying to balance a factory job with repaying loans. It is very tempting to “drink the bottle hollow” when facing tough times, I admit.
Greg Kowalczyk (bass) and Shane Macpherson (drums) know how to keep these songs moving and add dynamics without overpowering Mips muscular guitars. The three have great chemistry and it shows particularly on Beowulf; the aforementioned Grand Marquis; Sweaters (a personal favourite that was also on Caught In Between), and Stone Wall. It is easy to overlook Mips prowess on the guitar when listening to her voice but she is no slouch when it comes to attacking a song. She isn’t afraid to get dirty. Kowalczyk is also quite a pleasant surprise on guitars providing a wonderful rockabilly sensibility to Stone Wall and taking the lead in Grand Marquis. But my favourite song, and it’s really hard to pick one, has to be Northern Lights. It’s a return to the folk side and is astonishingly pretty. A great tune to finish a high-energy album with.
The album was recorded live-off-the-floor (always a better sound in my opinion) by Mike Pedro at Cosmic Audio. I like this style of recording because it always sounds warmer and more immediate than when things are recorded separately and then brought together in the mix. Be forewarned that there is some foul language so if you have kids and you don’t want them to hear it then turn down Ranger Danger and Stone Wall when they come on.