With an assertively captivating blend of melodies and heartfelt lyrics, MESSMAKER offers a refreshing interpretation of indie rock. The dynamic duo, composed of the mastermind Michael McFarland and the versatile percussionist Freja McNeal, ignites stages with an arena-like energy during their performances. Drawing comparisons to esteemed acts like Panic At the Disco and Bastille, McFarland's songwriting is candid, emotive, and astute. When joined by McNeal, the Cleveland, Ohio-based duo infuses their material with an unrelenting vigor, showcasing a matured style and sound cultivated through years of traversing the realms of travel, relationships, heartbreaks, and self-reinvention. They display this on their release Dancing In The Moonlight.
The first is the title track called “Dancing In The Moonlight” and it felt like the highlight to my ears. It starts with a band. The song combines synths, guitar, bass and drums. It’s a bright and fun song. I loved the vocals. McFarland sounds loose and excited to be there. He sounds great and I thought the vocal melodies were memorable. The hook is money and is repeat worthy. There’s a very ’80s breakdown done in a contemporary way around the two-minute mark. It builds back up and gets to the hook. Overall, this was a great song.
“Paying Attention” starts with a good amount of energy that settles into the verse with delayed percussion, fuzzy guitars and vocals. The hook hits hard. It’s a bit of a ballad taking from both pop punk and a tinge of ’80s metal. I liked the syncopation on the second verse. The guitar work in particular was really well done.
Up next is “We Are The Architects” and it starts with the guitar melody that reminded me of something you would hear from The Edge. The vocals sound and when the chorus comes it pops. It’s a very free and cathartic sounding hook. The song soars in multiple ways and I could imagine people really embracing this sound in a live environment.
These were great songs. The songwriting is there and when it’s combined with top notch production and delivery you have something special. Recommended.
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