Connector is I the Mighty’s second album and delivers everything a sophomore effort should. It takes its foundations from debut album Satori and adds a host of refinement, variation and excitement, making this by far the band’s best release to date. The band has shown promise since the release of debut EP Hearts and Spades in 2010 and though each subsequent release has slowly built on this, Connector sees the band realise of all their potential in one stunning, twelve track package.
What makes the album stand out is its rich variety, as threads from several genres and styles are seamlessly woven together to form the record. Whether its heavy riffs and screams, minimalist electronic ballads, or outright pop anthems, I the Mighty aren’t afraid to wear their influences on their sleeve to keep their music fresh and varied. Putting so many styles together can sound confusing and dilute a band’s identity, but Connector’s carousel of genres is so well balanced and skilfully executed, it becomes the band’s core strength rather than a source of weakness. Underpinning this genre-bending, tempo-shifting effect is the excellent work of drummer Blake Dahlinger. His off-beat hi-hats transform passages of music, taking the listener’s ear in a different direction and his constant manipulation of rhythm in contrast to the vocals makes the songs more memorable and effective.
Vocalist Brent Walsh makes a huge impact on this record and sees him come into his own as a front-man. There are many singers who can write catchy choruses, and Walsh is certainly amongst them, but where this album shines is in the build-ups to those central points. The vocal arrangements in the verses and pre-choruses provide some of Connector’s most memorable moments with “The Lying Eyes of Miss Erray” and “(No) Faith in Fate” being two great examples. Too often on Satori, songs felt like a sprint to the next big chorus, leaving parts of songs feeling disposable, but Connector celebrates each bar of music, showing a marked development in the band’s song-writing skills. Walsh released a solo record in 2014, allowing him an opportunity to explore different aspects of his vocals and this project has seemingly helped Walsh develop into a more rounded vocalist. This comes through most notably on “Slow Dancing Forever”, which could be mistaken at first for one of Walsh’s solo efforts with its electronic effects and minimal instrumentation, but in fact nestles perfectly in the centre of the record.
This freedom to interject with personal influences and styles makes for a refreshing and personable album. It’s as though the band has cycled through their favoured styles of music and combined them to form an album born from their collective tastes. The variation in styles and tempos gives the album longevity as it satisfies a wide range of moods and will undoubtedly elevate the band’s reach across wider audiences. All of this is made possible by the band’s development as song-writers and performers and Connector should give I the Mighty the perfect platform to keep pushing the genre forward in new and interesting directions in the future.