The Miracle of 86

Kevin Kolankowski

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When it comes to independent rock, much out there is rather rudimentary and sloppy, which has drawn a widespread following made up of those lacking interest in the overly produced mainstream scene. While on many fronts, this thriving underground community is a blessing, as one can find many genuine musicians who aren't weakened by the state of the often oppressive music industry, at other times, these groups simply are lacking the dynamics and accessibility that are required to be considered listenable. The Miracle of 86 may wish that they fall in the former category and have a blazing sense of originality; they unfortunately are caught up in the latter, stumbling through their album with little focus or solid talent. This is disappointing, as Kevin Kolankowski is a truly admirable effort based on the concept alone; it is geared to celebrate one of the group's closest friends and subsequent member. The liner notes help the listener understand how much the group cares for this individual, and that in itself deserves recognition. Few bands out there are willing to acknowledge their close personal friends, much less title their album after such persons. The downfall of the Miracle of 86 comes with their disjointed approach to indie rock, as there is little on this album that deserves much attention. When the most memorable song on a group's album is their Bob Dylan cover, one has got to question whether the group is capable of creating actual songs of their own. Kevin Devine's vocals are painfully flawed and often out of key, much like a prepubescent boy. This awkward attribute is the main factor in why the group has not found any sort of success musically, and overshadows most everything else on the eight-song outing. Perhaps if Devine sought out a skilled vocal trainer, he could eventually solidify himself as one of the underground scene's brightest stars, but the end result on Kevin Kolankowski is simply too uneven to recommend to any interested party.

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