From the Barenaked Ladies to the Goo Goo Dolls to Toad the Wet Sprocket to the Rembrandts, Gavin MacKillop is a producer/engineer who has shown a fondness for the more melodic, hooky, tuneful bands in alternative pop/rock. An album that MacKillop produces or engineers won't necessarily fit that description, but there is a good possibility that it will -- and the Miggs' second album, Insomnia, won't hurt MacKillop's reputation for embracing the melodic, hooky, tuneful side of alternative pop/rock. This is alternative pop/rock that has a lot of power pop and arena rock appeal -- nothing abstract, dissonant, or angular takes place -- and the Miggs have an attractive, easily likable sound that draws on alternative influences such as the Replacements, R.E.M., Live, and the abovementioned Goo Goo Dolls. In other words, the Miggs are very much the sort of band one would expect MacKillop to produce given his history. Nothing groundbreaking occurs on Insomnia, but the Northern Californians' material is solid, well constructed, accessible, and very easy to absorb. If Insomnia is mildly derivative, it certainly isn't derivative in a negative way -- and while the Miggs won't win any awards for being the most innovative band of the 2000s, they deliver the goods when it comes to expressive lead vocals (which are provided by frontman/songwriter Don Miggs), quality, and craftsmanship. This is a memorable CD that both the Miggs and MacKillop should be glad to have on their résumés.
by Alex Henderson