The Mining Co.’s debut album ‘Burning Sun and The Atomic Powers Within’ released in 2016 was an intriguing collection of downbeat Americana and alt-folk tracks which signalled the arrival of a new artist to challenge the current status quo of artists in those genres. Gaining attention from the likes of The Guardian, Gigslutz and Amazing Radio and key tastemakers germinating what now is a band that are set to prove themselves.
The Mining Co.’s sophomore album ‘Mountain Fires’ should do just this with principal member Michael Gallagher returning to the studio in Spain in which their debut was recorded to fully hone his craft with songs that were creatively spurred on by the processes involved in the release of the first album. It’s an album that looks back to a different time, a time of total freedom, a wild childhood, long days and nights spent listening to radio stations like Radio Luxembourg, before the internet and before mobile phone communication and the start of a love for music: Elvis, Springsteen, New Wave: the soundtrack to love – come, gone and missed – a celebration to the past that still shines brightly.
From the minimal opening of ‘Julie’s Song’, Gallagher’s voice sounds deeper and more refined echoing in a distinct reverb and comforting with its angst and melancholy and the production seems polished and spacious. ‘Closer’ rattles with piano and retro organ with a darkness, Gallagher’s voice cracking from its deadpan style occasionally and reaching high notes offering an accomplished sound that yearns in histories coffee stained pages and sepia photographs and London’s grey streets and empty rooms and bars, recalling Nick Cave and Tom Waits perhaps with its darkness.
Stand out track ‘Against The Grain’, is just what Gallagher is. A maverick music obsessive who is heading backwards and forwards at the same time, perfectly crafting his tracks in 2017 with a caution and care like the best 50’s and 60’s singers. He laments that he is ‘always against the grain’ as the track escalates with gorgeous strings and glockenspiel and shuffling drums. ‘Valentine To Write’ is another highlight with its instant upbeat moods and sweeping organ as Gallagher ponders on another ‘valentine to write to’ and that he can’t believe another year has passed him by. It’s a daydream of a song that deals with lost time and dreams and indecisiveness in love.
It’s a superb collection of tracks that are rooted enough in traditions to be engaging but with enough quirk and eccentricities to find a place above the rest of Americana and folk’s recent bands and to cherish for years to come and to warrant continued listening. Gallagher is laid plain in some lyrics alongside other lyrics left veiled in metaphor and profundities. The Mining Co. are back with an album that should stand shoulder to shoulder with the best new alt-folk music around, so let yourself be taken on their gentle and psychedelic ride into glorious sounds.