Sleepy Americana From The Heart Of London
Hazy summer days, spent on back porches in sleepy American suburbs. This is the sort of image conjured up when listening to ‘Burning Sun & The Atomic Powers Within’. However, The Mining Co. don’t hail from any backwater Alabaman burg but rather grey old London town.
Despite this geographical anomaly, Michael Gallagher and his band have created a gentle, introspective collection of southern fried Americana, worlds away from the rainy streets of England’s capital.
Opener "Country Heart" drifts in sounding like Neil Young at his most Harvest-y. Gallagher’s vocal is so restrained it sounds like it could fall asleep at any moment. This is not an album that grabs you by the lapels and screams in your face, even in its more upbeat moments like the brooding Johnny Cash-esque "Shoot The Stars" or the Country shuffle of closer "Keep On Rollin’’ this is an album that rarely gets above second gear, and nor does it intend to.
Repeat listens slowly bring the subtle nuances to the surface. The gentle interplay between acoustic guitars, swooning lap steel and fragile vocals start to become apparent. As does Gallagher’s melancholy storytelling. This is no more apparent than on album centerpiece, "Ballad Of The Mining Company". “Hey driver how do you sleep at night, working all day without daylight?” he sings, channeling Springsteen at his most restrained. It is a sad and beautiful tale and a definite album highlight.
Definitely not an album that outstays its welcome. At a little under half an hour, with no song breaching the four minute mark, it can sometimes feel like a song ends before it has really had a chance to spread its wings, and unless you’re paying strict attention some songs can kind of just pass you by.
However, as a debut album it reeks of possibility. If The Mining Co. continue to expand on the sounds laid down in "Burning Sun..." I predict album number two could be something very special indeed.
In the meantime, if you’re a fan of gentle Americana in the mold of Bonnie Prince Billy, Mark Kozelek, or the aforementioned Cash and Young, or you’d simply like something to make you feel like it’s summer again then there is a lot to love over ‘Burning Son & The Atomic Power Within’s’ brief running time. Definitely a band to keep an eye on.