Analog Missionary are, believe it or not, a fairly competent pub rock band from Mobile, AL. I have never been to Mobile, but i hear that it is a fun little coastal city. At the very least, they have one band.
The music that Analog Missionary makes is what i would classify as "classic rock influenced". The music has a very "big" sound, and it is kind of jammy but not in a Widespread Panic kind of way. Rather, it sounds as if the band has absorbed into their very beings the late 70s early 80s classic rock that saturated the South. That said, there are some really nice moments on the CD.
First off, i would like to point out that vocalist Anstrom (she goes by only
one name), has a rich, powerful voice that she obviously knows how to use.
At times she can sound light and delicate like Nicola Hitchcock of Mandalay,
and at other times she can make her voice sound fuller, like Chrissie Hynde
at her peak. Anstrom is really the center of the band.
Another thing i like about the band is that they are capable of performing a wide range of music styles, from trip-hop (Lilith, the album's opener, a song that really sounds stolen from Mandalay), to Styx-ish operatic rock (Transmitter, with its huge sound and powerful vocals), to synthpop (the keyboards that open Sundering Sea came straight out of the 80s), to prog (Walk to the Sun features a bass riff designed to entertain Rush fans), to contemporary pop (Satellite sounds a lot like Garbage). Very diverse, and that helps keep the album interesting. I wonder how well all of this comes across in concert?
That said, there are three songs that i think really work. Not that the other 8 tunes here are bad, it is just that i think that these three capture the best that Analog Missionary has to offer.
First off is Chaser, which is a slow burner. It starts off with subtle guitar, washes of keys, and Anstrom practically whispering. It builds slowly, until it is a furious tune with the guitarist playing arpeggios that remind me of what The Edge is doing these days.
Analog Missionary's real classic is Interference. This starts minimal and lovely, with chiming guitar over keyboardy noodling and light voice. Then, suddenly it explodes in a very dramatic way, with the keyboards chugging along and the guitar grinding away. This is an epic tune that in some ways reminds me of the music in the film Heavy Metal. It is also, i think, what local band Salome's
Wish were going for, only i think that Analog Missionary have achieved it, while Salome's
Wish never quite got there.
The final standout track, for me, is the album's closer, Sundering Sea. It's always a good idea to end on a high point, and Analog Missionary do that here. I like the "ooh ahh" keyboard part in the beginning, and the song also uses strings as a nice counterpoint to the guitarwork.
The band obviously knows their stuff.