Mitch Easter

Dynamico

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Only 19 years after Let's Active released their last album and close to a quarter-century after he became the jangle pop producer to end all jangle pop producers, Mitch Easter has thrown all caution to the wind and launched his solo career with his first album under his own name, 2007's Dynamico. On top of writing all 14 songs, Easter also played nearly all the instruments on Dynamico (except for bass and drums, respectively contributed by Shalini Chatterjee and Eric Marshall), and for a guy who has been devoting most of his energies to recording and production in recent years, this album shows his guitar chops are still in superb shape, letting forth the kind of potent but melodic crunch that marked Let's Active's most powerful work. Easter's new songs are tuneful but full of rock & roll backbone, demonstrating (as fans already knew) that this guy has lots more up his instrumental sleeve than the peal of a Rickenbacker. The snazzy hard rock of "Ton of Bricks" and "The Phantoms of Ephemera," the sharply angular hooks of "Time Warping," and the folkie harmonics of "Why Is It So Hard?" demonstrate Easter is capable of embracing a number of different styles with equal vigor, and the stylistic diversity and easy balance of the melodic and the aggressive on Dynamico recall one of Easter's more memorable production clients, Scott Miller (of Game Theory and Loud Family not-quite fame), which given how well Miller's work has stood the test of time is high praise indeed. Despite his low profile as a performer, Dynamico shows Mitch Easter's musical ideas are as keen as ever, and his instrumental skills remain impressive; hopefully he won't make folks wait so long before treating fans with another set this strong.

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