CD Review: The Honest Mistakes “Break Up”

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“Break Up” is the debut released January 5, 2010, from a new Baltimore band calling themselves The Honest Mistakes. The band personnel have been around the block, though – founders Joylene Dalia (vocals) and Chris Ehrich (guitar) were formerly in the aptly titled outfit, The Chris and Joylene Show from 2000 to 2004. They’ve teamed up with Adam Kivisaari on bass and Frank Corl on drums/percussion to create this record for those disenchanted with togetherness.

The Honest Mistakes have aligned with The Beechfields Record Label, who were responsible for bringing us the notable power pop of The Seldon Plan and the eclectic Gary B and the Notions.

“Break Up” took the band nearly 4 painstaking years to make – a labor of love to be sure. The songwriting largely employs solid pop sensibilities, but the band has a tendency to digress with some different styles. For some this will make for a fun dynamic, but for others it will disrupt the consistency of an otherwise pop rock record. It is no great surprise that this record is about breaking up. This is always a dangerous topic to explore as so many artists have already been there and done that, but The Honest Mistakes deserves credit for making their songs lyrically engaging with plenty of wit and sting. It is unquestionably a good CD to spin if you are going through similar trials and tribulations with your significant other – honestly, The Honest Mistakes unmistakably feel your pain.

“Break Up” gets off to a very promising start with four well-written tracks that showcase the chemistry of this band and bring to light their full potential. Energetic gems like the opening title track will pique your interest, and the melodic goodness is sustained through “Feel Good” and “Roses”. “Long Way Around” is another catchy track, with bright guitar and snappy melody that brings 80s sensation Katrina and The Waves to mind. The other songs are just kind of there – not bad, but not great. The exception here is the brilliant “If It Isn’t Me”, which for me represents this band at its best and proves they can achieve greatness if they go that extra mile.

There are a few things that dampen my enthusiasm for “Break Up”. That ‘extra mile’ I refer to above isn’t taken on most of the tracks. Show has a capable voice, but it is often bereft of confidence and swagger. It has a bit of a slacker feel, actually, kind of like early Liz Phair. But then there are songs like “Roses” and “If It Isn’t Me” where she takes some chances, inching more towards Sheryl Crow with a hint of Blondie. More harmony vocals and better production would also have given the record that extra punch it needs.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 4, 8

The Honest Mistakes on MySpace.