You have your big, soulful-voiced singers, the kind blessed with amazing pipes, who are a joy to hear, a sight to see. Then you have the songwriter, the person who can turn a phrase, find a hook, create art of of air. Two different types at the top of their game. Each one is a rare beast, but when one person has both of these high level-talents, there's magic happening.
Micah Barnes of Toronto used to be in The Nylons, so you know he can sing. It turns out he can write brilliant blue-eyed soul, centered around his piano and of course, the voice. He's had a long recording, performing and vocal coaching career, moving between L.A. and Toronto, battled some personal grief and demons, and most importantly, survived and become known by insiders as one of the great talents in the country. His six-track EP Domesticated, is joyful and polished. It's ear candy, Top 40 for sure, but the kind even the most cynical punk or shoe-gazing indie fan can acknowledge as expert-league.
I hear strong soul-pop here, crossed with smart, 80's New Wave crispness. Barnes works with full respect for the art of making a hit, or at least that definition of a hit we grew up with, a song that would sound great on the radio, and of course pumping out of the stereo at a party. Economies and trends have moved people away from precision, perfection and of course, pricey productions, but with such a enjoyable voice, radiant melodies and strong stories, what else would you want than this polished gem?