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Dykehouse



Until recently, the Kalamazoo born and bred Mike Dykehouse was known for the quirky IDM he composed under his surname for Mike Paradinas' (aka U-ziq) Planet Mu label. While falling something short of a complete 180, Dykehouse's first album for Ann Arbor-based Ghostly International, Midrange, represents a significant departure, sharing his previous work's bedroom origins and fondness for melodic synths but little else. Midrange is so unabashedly nostalgic for the shoegazer and dream pop of the late '80s and early '90s, you could almost call it an ode. If you listened to modern rock radio of the era, you're almost guaranteed to hear an echo of something you adored, from My Bloody Valentine's Isn't Anything to Slowdive's Souvlaki, from Chapterhouse to Ride to Curve to Lush to The Catherine Wheel...the list goes on. The atmospheres are so perfectly rendered, from the heavy reverb, propulsive bass lines and cheerfully lovelorn lyrics of the more straightforward pop songs to the abstracted synth swirl of the more ambient tunes, you'll have a hard time believing you've never heard these songs before -- wasn't "When You Come" on the Pretty in Pink soundtrack!? Dykehouse has the sensitive/sincere vocal thing down pat (was he an emo kid in a past life?) but he delivers his lyrics with tongue planted firmly in cheek. Just listen to the album's most infectious track (beware!), "Chain Smoking": "You're kind of soft / And I'm so hard / When we made out in your backyard / I tried to undo your pants / And ended up crushing your plans." When you see Dykehouse live, you find out that humor is a big part of his gameplan (wait till you hear his cover of Prince's "Darling Nikki"), and it's a secret weapon here, allowing him to create a loving homage that doesn't take itself too seriously. Midrange is a delicious, welcome anachronism.

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