Illyah Kuryahkin

Friday Night Fights

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Like Robert Pollard's and Tobin Sprout's 1996 solo LPs, these two songs by Mitchell were apparently recorded before Sprout and Mitchell stopped being Guided By Voices members. Sprout's Carnival Boy served notice that his post-GBV career will be ace, but that came as no surprise judging from the tunes he'd already written and sung on each GBV LP, whereas guitarist Mitchell is on virgin territory here. If this is a valid sample, then -- not surprisingly -- he's not quite the songwriter his former bandmates are. So what does he have going for him, other than a great band moniker (an obvious goof at having the same name as the famed Mitch Mitchell, fantastic drummer of the Jimi Hendrix Experience)? The surprise is that his voice is so pleasant. Like Sprout's, it's so boyish, the opposite of what you'd expect from this tattooed, thick-armed, chain-smoking big lug. "Friday Night Fights" is raspy, loud, totally thick chunks of rockin' guitar and GBV-style recording immediacy. "Big City" goes nowhere, but with more practice at composing more memorable hooks, the congenial Mitchell may yet catch up to his old compadres' head start. As for Illyah Kuryahkin, "Taking a Train" is actually better than the better-known Mitchell's offerings. A buried, cacophonous din and vocals that might as well come from out your window can't hide a nifty riff and a lilting '60s-style melody written by one Dean Wilson. This makes you want to investigate the Count No Count LP and the 7" Lotus Pool. Fee fi fo fum, I smell talent in this no-account bum.