CD Review: Mimi Arden S/T

Michelle Gaw is a Cleveland-based singer-songwriter who has been creating her style of music for a while now. And she has been performing her music all over town. But when she performs, it is either as a solo act or as part of a band. The name of the band that Gaw performs with is called Mimi Arden, a name that derives from her own name. So when she was looking for a name for the band that helps bring her music to life, she used a nickname for Michelle (Mimi) and her middle name (Arden) to create the moniker for the band she fronts.

The band of Mimi Arden is made of three musicians. Along with Michelle Gaw, the rest of the band called Mimi Arden consists of Michelle Gaw on Vocals and Guitar, Lee Kolarik on Drums and Joe Botta on Bass. As Mimi Arden, Gaw, Kolarik and Botta are keeping busy. The trio can be found performing at many of the music festivals in the Greater Cleveland. And when they are not performing live, they are creating music. Just recently, the band went about recording some of their song. Together with some other friends that helped to create the music of the band, this trio created a new self-titled ten-song release.

The new self-titled album from Mimi Arden begins with the track “Wits”. The track about going slightly crazy begins with the sound of Michelle’s acoustic guitar and her voice which creates a Folk-rock track. And after about forty seconds, the acoustic rock created by Gaw is made fuller as she is joined the electric guitar from Raymond Flanagan. That electric guitar helps to add some flavor to the track but doesn’t really give the track any true energy as the track remains rather low-key throughout its three-and-a-half minutes of playtime. Lee Kolarik’s drums and Joe Botta’s bass join in and created a track with a laidback approach with a little bit of a Soul music feel. The easy-going track starts the album off rather easily, but that easy feeling simply ensures that there is enough room to increase the energy level as the release goes on.

The first track features a light feel to its music as does the second track. The difference in the two musical directions comes in when the second track of “Soul Pocket” contains more of Soul-like feel to the music. The musical approach on the track combines elements of Soul and Jazz. This combination brings to mind the playing of Jack Johnson while Gaw’s vocals also bring to mind vocalists from the seventies. The resulting feel of the track produces one of the most commercial tracks of the album and would feel right at home on today’s Top 40 radio formats.

”Returning to Ash,” the third track from the self-titled release from Mimi Arden, begins with drummer Lee Kolarik creating a drumbeat with a slightly jazzy feel to it before the light playing from electric guitarist Raymond Flanagan gives the track an Indie Rock feel. The entire ensemble of Flanagan, Michelle Gaw, drummer Lee Kolarik and bassist Joe Botta create a track that contains a light approach to the driving music. ”Returning to Ash” not only features Michelle Gaw, but it also contains the backing vocals of Elizabeth Bullock who helps to add some harmony to the track. The resulting track would fit on today’s radio formats but also contains enough of a retro feel that it would have felt right at home on AM radio back in the seventies.

As some of the music from Michelle Gaw contains a generous amount of Jazz influence, there seems to be a slight crossover possibility to some of the tracks on the self-titled release from Mimi Arden. “Vines” is one track that would feel right at home on an Adult Contemporary radio format just as easily as it would fit on a Smooth Jazz format. The laidback approach to the music and the jazzy feel to Gaw’s vocals are the main reasons for that. The musical approach seems to bring to mind the lighter songs from the band The Lovin Spoonful, which also means that there is a slight retro feel to the track.

With the track “Love All the Time,” Michelle Gaw and the rest of Mimi Arden once again create a track that features a strong Soul feel to the music. And with the track’s lyrical content about trying to find a way to live together, the track brings to mind something from the late sixties/early seventies. In fact, the track’s lyrics seem to contain the spirit of Marvin Gaye as they have the same type of message that would have been present in Gaye’s music. In fact, the title itself is rather reminiscent of something from the late singer-songwriter.

One of the tracks on the self-titled album from Mimi Arden that stands out because of its unique feel is the track “Rabbit Hole”. Just like the song “Love All the Time,” “Rabbit Hole” feels as if it would have come from an earlier time. The lyrical content of the track feels more like poetry than simple song lyrics. And with the guitar playing from Raymond Flanagan, the track’s music seems to contain a slightly psychedelic feel to it. The track would once again feel right at home on radio back in the seventies.

Before actually putting out the band’s self-titled album, Mimi Arden gave their fanbase a taste of what was to come. The track “Dandelions” once again finds the ensemble creating a track that combines a light Rock and Roll feel with a slight Jazz background to it. The track contains a lyrical content that finds Michelle Gaw singing about finding the right person to help her see the bright side of life instead of the darker side. Having released the song “Dandelions” before the rest of the release, the lead-off track now feels right at home in the midst of the other tracks that make up the album.

The self-titled album from Mimi Arden is a release that stays in a rather laidback and relaxed mood throughout the ten tracks that make up the album. Michelle Gaw and the rest of the band seem to work well together to create a track that would be perfect for those times when you simply want to put on some music an relax.

 

To listen to the music from Mimi Arden, check out the first single from the band’s self-titled album entitled “Dandelions“. 

To check out the self-titled release from Mimi Arden, click on the album cover below:

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