Wide Awake

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Lineup changes can be quite disruptive for a band, and the Miggs have had their share since the early 2000s. But those lineup changes haven't prevented frontman Don Miggs from delivering some solid, nicely crafted alternative pop/rock albums along the way. Don Miggs, of course, has always been the one in the driver's seat; he has had input from others, but ultimately, it is his talents as a singer/songwriter that have done the most to help the Northern California band score musical home runs. And he continues to get the job done on Wide Awake, which was recorded in late 2009 and is another solid album from the Miggs. This time, they favor a trio lineup that includes Don Miggs on lead vocals and guitar, Michael Lombardo on bass, and Ryan Scarborough on drums -- and the producer/engineer is Ken Lewis, who has worked with artists ranging from Lenny Kravitz, Fall Out Boy, and Small Town Sleeper to Jay-Z, Mary J. Blige, Ghostface Killah, Ludacris, and Kanye West. Lewis has eclectic tastes; he can function as efficiently in a pop/rock environment as he can in a hip-hop or R&B environment. And on Wide Awake, there's no doubt that he understands what makes the Miggs tick. Lewis obviously realizes that melodic, hooky alternative pop/rock is their strong point, and his presence is a definite plus on tuneful offerings like "Summer Takes the Fall" and "Enemy." Lewis, in fact, is as beneficial for the Miggs on Wide Awake as Gavin MacKillop was for them on 2005's Insomnia. But again, Don Miggs is the brains behind the band. And while Wide Awake doesn't break any new ground for the Miggs -- who weren't groundbreaking to begin with -- those who have enjoyed them in the past should have no problem getting into this consistently likable effort.

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