Mike Toschi

Mock Democracy

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Although the truism of less being more in the realm of singer/songwriters generally holds true, occasionally one is provided with a startling reminder that the tendency toward simplicity should only be attempted by those who have a firm grasp of how to make a recording both basic and interesting. And even though one is given ample evidence that Mike Toschi means well with his uncomplicated arrangements of acoustic guitar, extremely streamlined melodies, and ineloquent lyrics, the final product isn't all that successful in bringing out a distinguished character through the simplicity of his songwriting. His breathy monotone is seemingly only capable of journeying up the scale a few notes, and everything about his songwriting is choppy and crude, from the melodies to the fragmented lyrics. In fact, Toschi largely comes off as more amateurish than profound in his heavy-handed attempts to cast his vision as political commentary on the evils of the corporate world, the plight of Mexican immigrants, and the contradictory nature of characters in American history. Further, his arrangements, big on strummed acoustic guitar with little textural or rhythmic variation, result in most of the songs sounding a bit too much like each other for any to really stand out. Ultimately, Toschi comes darn close to creating outsider music, with the main problem being that he's entirely too self-aware to be able to pass himself off as naïve.

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