Musician/author Mickey Leigh and his band mates in Mickey Leigh’s Mutated Music are scheduled to release the group’s new album, Vairants of Vibe next week through Wicked Cool Records. Set for release Feb. 18, the 14-song record has already shown great potential through the singles that it has already produced. They have shown greatly, how the record’s musical arrangements and lyrical content make the record so enjoyable. They are just a small sample of how that content makes the record engaging and entertaining, too. The record boasts plenty of other songs that do just that, too. ‘Brave Old World,’ which comes late in the album’s 40-minute run, is another solid example of the record’s strength. It will be discussed shortly. ‘Loneliness,’ which comes a little earlier in the album, is another good example of what makes the album worth hearing. It will be discussed a little later. Much the same can be said of ‘Spanish Eyes,’ which comes even earlier in the record. It will also be examined later. Each song noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation. When they are considered along with the album’s singles and with the rest of the album’s other songs, the whole makes the album overall the first truly great new independent album.
Variants of Vibe, the new album from Mickey Leigh’s Mutated Music, is a truly promising offering from the group. That is thanks to its featured musical arrangements, as its current singles have already shown. They are just a sample of how that content makes the album so engaging and entertaining. The record is full of interesting entries, not the least of which is the late entry, ‘Brave Old World.’ The musical arrangement featured in ‘Brave Old World’ is a great, catchy composition. Leigh’s vocal delivery alone conjures thoughts of Tom Petty and Billy Joel. Yes, that sounds like quite the odd pairing, but it really is evident here. The Billy Joel comparison builds even more with the introduction of the saxophones and the way in which the rhythm section is accented here. The subtle use of the piano alongside those elements builds even more on that comparison. The thing is that even with such comparison, the less than two minute arrangement still boasts its own identity. What’s more, even clocking in at less than two minutes, Leigh and company somehow manage to make the song feel more along the lines of a standard three-minute-plus work in the best way possible. The group really makes the song last, which is certain to leave any listener fulfilled. When the engagement and entertainment guaranteed by the arrangement pairs with the song’s lyrical theme, the song gains even more traction.
It is just this critic’s interpretation that the lyrical theme featured in ‘Brave Old World’ is that of someone just appreciating the world. This is especially inferred as Leigh sings that “Nothing ever changes/But something changes every day/So I ain’t seen nothing like this/Brave old world.” That brief statement speaks volumes. It comes across as that old adage that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Even as much as that is the case, the subject still seems to wonder at how much changes even as things stay the same. It is a positive viewpoint that will resonate with audiences. He continues, “Nothing’s here to stay/Except yesterday/And the day before that/Maybe true/But it’s not a fact/Still my heart/While you take another beat/Now don’t you feel smart/You better stand up/While you take your seat/They say that time is….But it never went away/I see the setting sun around me/In a brave old world.” All of this collectively, with that final statement, paints a picture of someone who just seems to appreciate being alive, despite everything. He is reminding others to make the most of each day. Again, this is just this critic’s own interpretation. When this seeming theme pairs with the equally upbeat, positive energy in the song’s musical arrangement, the whole makes the song a clear example of why the record’s musical and lyrical content makes it so enjoyable.
‘Brave Old World’ is just one of the many songs that shows the album’s strength. ‘Loneliness’ which comes a little earlier in the album’s run, is another example of how much that content has to offer audiences. The song’s musical arrangement is a stark departure from that of ‘Brave Old World’ and the album’s other entries. Where ‘Brave Old World’ presented a blend of influences from the likes of Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty, ‘Loneliness’ presents clear influence from Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. Leigh himself even somehow manages to make his voice morph into a blend of the two what with the drawl and gritty delivery style. That, paired with the reserved guitar line and steady, plodding tempo points the finger to the noted influences even more. When considered alongside the arrangement in ‘Brave Old World’ and in the album’s current singles, it is one more example of the diversity in sounds and styles in the album’s musical arrangements. It is fully engaging and entertaining, too because of its richness. When the depth in the arrangement pairs with the song’s lyrical theme, the song in whole becomes that much more engaging and entertaining.
The lyrical theme featured in ‘Loneliness’ is about exactly that. It is sung from the standpoint of someone who is all alone. Thanks to the drawl that Leigh incorporates into his vocal delivery, some of the lyrics are difficult to decipher sans lyrics to reference. However, enough can be understood that listeners can infer this is literally about someone who is alone. There is no direct reference about a broken relationship or anything of the sort. It is, plain and simple, about being alone and the mental and emotional impact thereof. The way in which Leigh delivers the seeming theme paints a picture of someone sitting alone at a table, glass and bottle in hand at one point. At others, images of people just being alone in various situations arise. It is all so rich, it makes for a perfect chance for a single and video. Yes, that is a blatant recommendation to Leigh and everyone at Wicked Cool Records. When the song’s lyrical theme and musical arrangement are combined, they make the song in whole yet another key example of what makes the album so enjoyable, and hardly the last, too. ‘Spanish Fly,’ another of the album’s early entries, continues to show the album’s strength.
The musical arrangement featured in ‘Spanish Fly’ is another change in sound and style for the album. The arrangement, in this case, finds Leigh morphing his vocals yet again, this time making himself sound like none other than Billy Idol. The production and the instrumentation adds to that comparison to works from the famed rocker, especially the pairing of the bass and drums with Leigh’s vocals. The mid-tempo composition is another change in style, too. It further adds to the arrangement’s overall uniqueness and in turn interest. When the engagement and entertainment ensured through the song’s arrangement pairs with the song’s accessible lyrical theme, the whole becomes that much more enjoyable.
The lyrical theme featured in ‘Spanish Fly’ comes across as being sung by a man who is rather entranced by a woman. This is inferred as Leigh sings, about the woman looking at him “with those Spanish eyes”. He even sings in this song about the woman being his first love and being breathless from that first kiss. In other words, this song is a love song. It is just presented musically in a unique way that makes the all too familiar theme bearable. When the song’s musical arrangement and lyrical theme are paired together, they make the song yet another example of just how much the song has to offer. What’s more, when the song is considered along with the other songs examined here and with the album’s singles and other songs, the whole makes Variants of Vibe in whole a complete success.
Variants of Vibe, the new album from Mickey Leigh’s Mutated Music is a solid new offering of rock for fans of said genre. The album’s success is due to its musical and lyrical content. All thee of the songs examined here do well to make that clear. When they are considered along with the album’s current singles and with the rest of its songs, the whole makes the whole makes this record the first truly great new independent album of 2022.
Variants of Vibe is scheduled for release Feb. 18 through Wicked Cool Records. More information on the album is available along with all of the latest news from Mickey Leigh’s Mutated Music at: