I The Mighty - Satori
Record Label: Equal Vision
Release Date: June 11, 2013
The San Francisco natives in I The Mighty began to steal the limelight when they released their second EP, Karma Never Sleeps, at the end of March 2012. The six-track EP went on to be one of my most played releases of the year, especially during the summer. The quartet’s knack for writing high energy tracks with infectious lyrics converted me, as well as many others, into new die-hard fans. And it was only a matter of time before they released their first full-length record, hopefully showing the world their ability to translate their success with EPs to a longer yet constantly engaging format.
I say “hopefully” because life can be filled with hype, and sometimes it’s healthy to be cautiously optimistic when it comes to things that may be “too good to be true”. The last thing anyone wants is to be let down, right? Have no fear, because that’s the last thing you’ll feel with Satori.
It kicks off with the lead single “Speak To Me”, and there isn't a more appropriate way to start this record. This song shows all of the progression that the band has taken and combines it with vocalist Brent Walsh’s knack for writing catchy lyrics that culminate in fantastic choruses (something that I will point out a lot, just so you know). “Failures” and “Ivy” continue to keep your blood pumping, both showcasing more great choruses, with the former made stronger by wonderful use of falsetto vocals and the latter made easily memorable with the sheer catchiness.
As Satori continues through its fifty-one minute length it hits you with more fantastic tracks such as “Awful Temptress (Paint Me Senseless)”, whose vocal melodies during the chorus are quirky enough to stay ingrained in your brain, “Four Letter Words”, which features amazing guest vocals from Colleen D'Agostino of The Material, and the album closing “The Quick Fix”. Though if there was one track on the album that every ITM fan should listen to as a testament to their past and the progression they have made between Karma Never Sleeps and Satori is “The Frame II: Keep Breathing”. To hear Walsh scream the familiar line “They already took her from us” as the track concludes is an example of what this band has to offer, and may be a sign of what the band has to offer for the next several years.
Satori’s strength is heard immediately through Walsh’s vocals, but the rest of the band hits their “high notes” just as well as he does. The guitar work is lightning fast and perfected, while drummer Blake Dahlinger has an absolute field day behind the kit. This is a band that knew this was a “make or break record” based on their previous successes and the ever-growing fan base. They are at their most comfortable, and they created a record that sounds like it blatantly ignored the pressure that was ultimately forced upon it.
Now I’m not saying this record is perfect, don’t get me wrong. In fact, while I believe that this is a record that has no “bad” songs, there are some weaker tracks among the thirteen. For example, “Echoes” and “Occupatience” both have their strengths and upon individual listen, they are great tracks. In fact the latter of the two is quite an unpolished gem, and does a terrific job to break the fast pacing so the listener can catch a breath and move on to enjoy the remaining four tracks of the record. Sadly, when compared to heavy-weights on the album these tracks can be lost in translation from the individual listen to the effort as a whole.
When this record was announced, the band said that “satori” translated to “awakening, or enlightenment”. That’s what this record is for them; it is an awakening into what may very well be an era of enlightenment for the group. They have a debut full-length record that is filled with songs that will undoubtedly translate wonderfully to the live setting, as well as a foundational back catalogue to throw into the mix during their upcoming tours. I The Mighty is horse off to the races, and with Satori the odds are more than just in their favor.