The world is pretty damn grim right now, so let Nick Mitchell Maiato lighten the mood with the intoxicating jams of Pino Carrasco.
As most regular readers of this blog probably know by now, Maiato is one of the guitarists and vocalists of One Eleven Heavy, which is without a doubt, one of the best bands to have emerged over the last decade. All of the music found on this record was originally intended for the band’s hotly anticipated third record, which would have been cut in Nashville. Yet, thanks to COVID, the recording of said proposed album couldn’t take place (every member of the band lives extremely far apart, so having everyone in the same studio at the same time just couldn’t be possible).
Despite the sad lack of the rest of the gang, the songs on this album certainly boogie like full-fledged One Eleven Heavy tracks. Maiato charges through each tune with enough energy, confidence and dynamism, that the record stands on its own two feet. With all due respect to the rest of the OEH crew, it doesn’t really need anything else. It’s already a solid album that gleams with greatness.
To get a taste of what I mean, just sample the crispy guitar solo that scorches through the galloping “City of Grit,” or try out the laid-back party that is “Show Yourself,” which joyfully chugs along like a psychedelicized Allman Brothers of Little Feat.
A major strength on this record is Maiato’s ace songwriting chops. Every tune shines with insanely pleasing hooks and melodies. It seems that an equal amount of energy and care was spent on the creation of lyrics and the flow and construction of the instrumental sections (with the intention that they could be expanded upon in a live full-band setting, for whenever OEH are able to finally reunite). How many songwriters besides Maiato (and maybe George Clinton) could come up with tunes filled with surreal and slightly ominous lines like “I wish that I was a sawmill, so I could turn this town to dust,” while still keeping them fun and catchy? Maiato totally owns his craft.
Here’s hoping that we’ll all be safely dancing in person to these songs at a One Eleven Heavy show in the near future. Until then, though, if you need a break from the doom and gloom from the outside world, just slap this record on your turntable and groove the night away.
You can preorder this wildly entertaining LP from Wat Ist Das? Records right here.