MIAOUX MIAOUX-SCHOOL OF VELOCITY-S.A.Y.A. NOMINEE.
MIAOUX MIAOUX-SCHOOL OF VELOCITY-S.A.Y.A. NOMINEE.
Following up a critically acclaimed debut album is never easy. It never has been, and never will be. That’s why many artists labour long and hard over their sophomore album. In some cases, three years pass by. During this creative struggle, an artist is said to be suffering from second album syndrome. It’s like a musical equivalent of writer’s block. Eventually though, it passes, and the long awaited sophomore album is ready for release.
Often though, by the time the album is completed, music has moved on. That genre of music is yesterday’s sound. In the pursuit of perfection, the artist has become irrelevant. They failed to notice that music was changing, while they were standing still. As a result, their career is over before it’s started; and they became a footnote in musical history, remembered for one critically acclaimed album. While that’s happened numerous times, it certainly didn’t happened to Glasgow based Miaoux Miaoux. Far from it.
Although it’s been three years since Miaoux Miaoux released their debut album Light Of The North in June 2012, it’s just that the man behind Miaoux Miaoux, Julian Corrie has been one of the hardest working men in Scottish music. He’s been playing live and much in demand as a remixer. So, three years passed before Miaoux Miaoux released their much anticipated sophomore album School Of Velocity. Just like Light Of The North, it was released on Glasgow’s premier label Chemikal Underground to widespread critical acclaim. ,
Fast forward to May 2016, and School Of Velocity is in the running for Scotland’s premier music prize, the Scottish Album Of The Year Award. The shortlist of twenty was announced just a few days ago. There were some strange and controversial choices on the shortlist, that left many shaking commentators shaking their head. Only the supposed ‘great and good of Scottish music who picked the shortlist will know why some of the albums made their way onto list. However, School Of Velocity a welcome and worthy addition to the shortlist, and is the latest chapter in Miaoux Miaoux story, which began in 2012.
That’s when Miaoux Miaoux released their much anticipated, debut album Light Of The North. It was released in June 2012, to widespread critical acclaim. Miaoux Miaoux seemed to have found the missing link between Mogwai and New Order. So it’s no surprise, that critics hailed Light Of The North as one of the finest debut albums of 2012. Critics also forecast a great future for Light Of The North. They were seen as one of Scotland’s rising stars.
Record buyers agreed. They too, were also won over by Miaoux Miaoux’s debut album. Light Of The North was a spellbinding, genre hopping musical journey. Seamlessly, Miaoux Miaoux married dance music and indie pop. The finishing touch to this captivating and glossy musical concoction, was a healthy supply of hooks. This ensured that Light Of The North was an irresistible soundtrack to the summer of 2012. Soon, word was spreading about Miaoux Miaoux.
Miaoux Miaoux head out on tour to promote Light Of The North. With his myriad of instruments and effects, Miaoux Miaoux hit the road. Before long, Miaoux Miaoux’s reputation was on the rise. This was helped by some high profile appearances, plus the fact that some high profile DJs were championing Miaoux Miaoux’s music. Meanwhile, other artists were aware of Miaoux Miaoux’s music and Julian Corrie’s skills as a remixer.
Light Of The North opened doors for the man behind Miaoux Miaoux, Julian Corrie. It was like his calling card, and showed just what he was capable of musically.Suddenly, the Glasgow based singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and remixer was being asked to remix other artists.
The first was one of Scottish music’s rising stars, Chvrches. They were just about to release their debut single The Mother We Share in 2012. It was given a Miaoux Miaoux makeover in 2012. Then in 2013, Miaoux Miaoux was asked to remix another Glasgow band.
This time, it was one of Scotland’s biggest bands, Belle and Sebastian. They asked Miaoux Miaoux to remix Your Cover’s Blown. It too, was given a dance-floor friendly sheen. After that, Miaoux Miaoux proved that he was an equal opportunities remixer.
Miaoux Miaoux headed off on a road trip down the M8. His destination was Edinburgh, where Miaoux Miaoux was going to remix a track by the acousto-electronic quartet,Discopolis. The track in question, was their single Zenithobia. It too, was remixed by Miaoux Miaoux. Having worked his magic, yet again, Miaoux Miaoux’s thoughts eventually turned to his sophomore album.
School Of Velocity, Miaoux Miaoux’s sophomore album was, as the man said, a long time coming. Almost three years after the release of Light Of The North, School Of Velocity was released on Glasgow’s premier label, Chemikal Underground. That’s not surprising.
Recording an album like School Of Velocity is, without doubt, a complex affair. Especially considering Miaoux Miaoux a “one man band.” This means Julian Corrie, the man behind Miaoux Miaoux, had to juggle numerous roles. He’s a songwriter, singer, musician, mixer and producer.
Having written the ten tracks, Julian add vocals, played a variety of instruments on School Of Velocity. Luckily, Julian plays a variety of instruments. He’s a talented multi-instrumentalist whose equally at home playing guitar or keyboards. Then there’s the vintage analogue equipment Julian deployed on School Of Velocity. Vintage keyboards, synths, drum machines and effects have been used effectively. They’ve played their part in an album where genres melt into one. The music is melodic, poppy and hook-laden. School Of Velocity is, as you’ll see, is the perfect soundtrack to the summer of 2015.
Launch Loop opens School Of Velocity. Sci-fi sounds provide an understated backdrop before the song explodes into life. There’s a brief nod to Simple Minds’ Up On The Catwalk. It’s a big, bold, gallus Glasgow sound. That’s until the tempo drops and the vocal enters. It’s tender and accompanied by crispy drums and synths that beep and squeak. By then, comparison can be drawn to Scritti Politti. From there, the arrangement veers between a floaty, dreamy and anthemic. It’s a vintage slice of pop perfection from Miaoux Miaoux.
Choppy synths open A Flutter Echo. Soon, thunderous 4/4 beats are added. They’re joined by a vocal that sounds as of it’s been inspired by Paddy McAloon. It’s like Prefab Sprout transported to 2015. As synths bubble and squeak, drums pound and Julian delivers a heartfelt, needy vocal. Later, steel drums and sci-fi synths are added. They’re a welcome addition to this irresistible hands in the air anthem, where indie pop and dance music become one.
Synths set the scene for Julian’s wistful vocal on Star Sickness. As a bass synth and drums interject, a bank of synths add an element of drama. They reflect the pain and hurt in Julian’s vocal. It’s rueful, as he thinks about what he’s lost. Meanwhile, this tale of love lost heads to the dance-floor. Guitars chime, while a bass adds some funky licks. Filters are added, while the arrangement is driven along by the synths and drums. They’re responsible for a trance influence. However, Julian’s vocal is indie pop all the way. Together, they prove a delicious and joyous combination.
Washes of shimmering synths are scene setters as Luxury Discovery unfolds. Soon, drums are added. When Julian’s vocal enters, again, it’s too a roll of drums. Again, there’s a Paddy McAloon influence as Julain delivers a slow, heartfelt, joyful and dramatic vocal. Harmonies augment his vocal, while glistening, elegiac synths and crispy drums frame the vocal. At the breakdown, one wonders if Julian’s taken a wrong turning? He hasn’t. After this clever twist, he continues to combine a combination of drama and joyousness, as arrangement builds to a beautiful, breathtaking crescendo.
School of Velocity sounds like a lost Prefab Sprout track given a makeover by Miaoux Miaoux. Washes of almost hypnotic, glimmering synths are joined by Julian’s tender, hopeful vocal. A rolling bass line sits atop the synths. Its ominous sound provides a contrast to the of the arrangement. Then a journeys round the drum kit adds an element of drama. Ethereal harmonies provide another contrast, before the arrangement explodes into life. Everything has been building up this, and what’s sure to be a crowd pleaser and festival favourite reaches a dramatic ending.
A wash of synths and slow, plodding drums are joined by Julian’s Prince like vocal on Giga Shrug. It’s obvious that Julian is a fan of the Minneapolis born singer. As the arrangement grinds along, banks of synths and drum machines provide an electronic backdrop, as Julian delivers a slow, sultry, vampish vocal.
It’s The Quick sees Julian deploy a vocoder. As he delivers the vocal, a moody, broody, vocoded vocal responds. Meanwhile, 4/4 pounding dance-floor beats and a bass synth combine with futuristic sounding synths. They beep and squeak as they deliver a futuristic language. They’re the perfect accompaniment to Julian’s vocal, on this 21st Century dance track.
Peaks Beyond Peaks sees a complete change of style. There’s almost a Bacharach and David influence. Nearer to home, it’s as if David Scott of The Pearlfishers has influenced Julian’s vocal. As he delivers the tenderest of heartfelt vocals, the arrangement is akin to musical merry-go-round. Indie pop and dance combine before Julian toys with the arrangement. A brief reggae influence can be heard, while sci-fi synths, bounding bass and filtered drums combine. It’s akin to a magical, musical merry-go-round.
There’s a Kraftwerk influence on Unbeatable Slow Machine. Think Man Machine. Industrial and futuristic synths accompany Julian’s defiant monotone vocal. Effects are deployed as the arrangement whirrs and grinds along. Ominously, Julian warns: “you will never win, you will never win, but you keep fighting against the machine.”
Mostly Love, Now closes School of Velocity. Banks of understated synths meander along, setting the scene for Julian’s vocal. Its entrance is accompanied by slow drums and ethereal harmonies. They sit well together, and prove a perfect combination. Later, Julian unleashes his inner rock star, and adds an element of drama to this quite beautiful ballad.
It might have taken Miaoux Miaoux three years to release School of Velocity, the followup to Light Of The North. However, Miaoux Miaoux pickup where they left off on Light Of The North, seamlessly combining indie pop and dance music. To that, elements of eighties pop, electronica, funk, rock and trance are added. There’s also a nod to Kraftwerk, Prefab Sprout and Prince. Nearer, to home, Glasgow’s very own Chvrches, Simple Minds and The Pearlfishers have all influenced Miaoux Miaoux on School of Velocity. Their influence can be heard on this genre hopping musical adventure.
I say adventure, because no two tracks are the same. Granted several tracks cane be described as ballads or dance tracks. However, not all ballads and dance tracks are created equally. Far from it. Each arrangement is different. The building blocks vary from track to track. As a result, when a track unfolds, you never know where it’s heading. Sometimes, School of Velocity is like Forest Gump’s box of chocolates, “you never know what you’re gonna get.” Especially when Miaoux Miaoux throws a curve-ball, and the arrangement heads off in a totally unexpected direction. Very occasionally, one thinks that Miaoux Miaoux has blown it. That’s not the case though. It’s a case of “take a good thing and make it better.” That’s the case on Flutter Echo and School of Velocity. A brief musical detour transforms the tracks and result in two of of Miaoux Miaoux’s finest moments on School of Velocity. They’re not alone though.
School of Velocity oozes quality. Miaoux Miaoux’s long awaited sophomore album, which was recently issued by Chemikal Records, is bound to be part of the soundtrack to the sumner of 2015. Especially the hook-laden anthems. They’re plentiful, and are sure to go down a storm with DJs. Similarly, these anthems will be festival favourites when Miaoux Miaoux plays live. The ballads show another side to Miaoux Miaoux. A reflective, rueful and sometimes hopeful and needy Julian Corrie lays bare his soul. This means there’s something for everything on School of Velocity. Whether it’s indie pop or dance music that’s your bag, then there’s something for everyone on School of Velocity, Miaoux Miaoux’s magical, musical merry-go-round that you won’t want to get off.
MIAOUX MIAOUX-SCHOOL OF VELOCITY–S.A.Y.A. NOMINEE.