Miles of Wire: All There Is (Self Released)

The magic of this self-financed disc is that the production (kudos to Bell) is simple enough that the power of the words and the music are not lost; as a storyteller, Maurice keeps us in rapt attention.

We first saw Miles of Wire near the end of last year. They had just become the band they are now (Raphael “Ray” Maurice, vocals/guitar; Shawn T. Bell, bass; Adam Anglin, wild man drummer), and from the moment they took the stage at the Way Out, they commanded our attention with the sheer force of Maurice’s lyrics and their subtle, but powerful stage presence. The immediate question was this: where was the CD with all these amazing songs? It turned out to be a burnt offering from Bell’s computer and the standard-issue answer was that that Ray was in L.A., “trying to make things happen.”

That CD was copied a dozen times and sent across the country to friends, family, and anybody we knew who loved music (sorry, boys; we’ll buy you a beer or two to make up for lost income). The magic of this self-financed disc is that the production (kudos to Bell) is simple enough that the power of the words and the music are not lost; as a storyteller, Maurice keeps us in rapt attention. His lyrics speak the tragedy of the Faulkner South and the hilarity (perhaps with hindsight) of youth’s mistakes. (One listen to “Oh! Pa” and you will laugh, just like when you figured out what the Kinks’ song “Lola” was all about.)

The songs range from balls-out rockers to the sweetest ballads, drawing pictures of confusion and hope. “Angels” treats the subject of sexual confusion (not an uncommon subject on this album) with beautiful words that haven’t been heard since David Bowie and Rod Stewart chimed in on the subject in the early ’70s: “Well it’s a 7-11 breakfast in the morning I guess/and you think about putting on your Mama’s dress/so tired of living this way, look at you/21, strung out and gay/may angels, may angels lead you home.” Simple and unrushed, Maurice sings a song that offers the facts and leaves the story’s direction open…much like life. All he looks for—what we all look for—are the peace and acceptance that comes from within.

“The Birds,” a mid-tempo sing-along with the unlikely and damn catchy refrain “I’ve got too many God-damn friends,” is an ideal setting for Maurice’s voice. The start/stop trajectory allows him to dance around phrases and leaves him shouting near the end of the song, only to end softly. A happier song than “Novocain” could never be found, though it is basically Maurice’s odd little drug travelogue ditty. Once again, this points out the strength of his writing. He knows how to get the most out of both the music and the words and his delivery is hyperactive and sweet, changing, as the case needs, on a dime.

This CD is easily one of the best locally produced CDs I have heard over the last two years; it also gives many national releases a run for their money. I won’t tumble over myself trying to find the correct word to describe it. I will echo what Rene Spencer Saller calls it in her excellent liner notes on the CD: passion. This CD speaks volumes for itself, and you should hear it and let it fill your life. Let’s hope “things” do happen in L.A. for this immensely talented band. Available from www.garageband.com/artist/milesofwire.
— Jim Dunn

About Jim Dunn 126 Articles
Jim Dunn grew up in NY in the 70s and 80s. Even though that time in music really shapes his appreciation it does not define it. Music, like his beloved history is a long intermingled path that grows, builds and steals from its past. He lives in Colorado with his lovely wife and a wild bunch of animals.

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