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Bevan Mical - Album Review: Division & Difference

12 Dec 2023 // A review by Steve Shyu
Since 2017 Bevan Mical has been busy. Hailing from the small Waikato town of Turua, he’s now onto his fourth full-length album, this one entitled Division & Difference.


It’s an apt album title, considering recent events inside Aotearoa and outside, and the musician/songwriter himself said this new record aims to “takes you to the edge of despair, shows hope-building, helping others, finding love and taking time for yourself amongst the crazies & craziness of life.”

Let’s see if it does what it says on the can.

Guitars, keyboards, and synthesised drums pave the way on opening song My Own Hell, as Bevan’s voice comes through in that slightly off-key, lilting, indie-rock way of singing. In fact, as I would later find, this style is carried through most of this record. Though sonically reminiscent of The Shins or even Flight of the Conchords, the lyrics broadly addresses faults with modern life and politics, but not focusing solely on any single issue.

Across tracks like the namesake song Division & Difference or Neurons In Play, the lyrics seem mostly written as a train-of-thought, direct from brain to paper then into a microphone. Whereas on Something We Can Use and Discontented the lyrics offer personal wisdoms in a self-help tone, as though Bevan’s channeling his inner intermediate school guidance counsellor.

When the album’s instrumental side takes a brave step outside of the mould is when songs fly a little higher. Like on Smoke & Mirrors, the cute, bouncy keyboard riffs that cap off choruses turns the tune into a dancey wee number. Similarly, on Nobody’s a Saint, where a banjo-esque line between verses does a very similar trick, injecting a flavour and dimension to match Bevan’s musical poetry.

Speaking of poetry, one lyric that personally spoke to me appears on Two Hearts, One Flame. You can tell by the title that it’s gonna be a love song, and it’s an extremely sweet ode to Bevan’s partner. One assumes!

Though the lines seem like a compilation of common expressions spoken during wedding vows, as someone who’s recently married, there was one verse that I felt was pertinent to me:

"For all the bad times, the good ones shine through."

Not sure why, I just find it very relevant!

Perhaps saving the most pop-tastic for last, Take This Moment is a synth-pop number complete with bright keyboards and synthesised drums, the only electronica-inspired track on this ten-track. And what a delight this one is. Here, the melodies connect and resolve the best compared to the rest of the album, even though the overarching tune still adheres to a mould. The retro-pop feel makes for an enjoyable listen after nine indie-folk tunes back-to-back, enough to make one get out of their seat and dance.

According to this album, it’s clear that Bevan places his focus on lyrics and writing insightful poetry, with music as a supporting feature. A lot of thought and observations of modern life is injected into verses, adding in his commentary on how society’s problems might be fixed.

As a whole, there appears to be a deep reliance on structure and formula when it comes to composing melodies and phrasing verses; exploring diversities of sounds and musicality would have served the album well.

In saying this, Division & Difference would make a great soundtrack to one’s afternoon catch-up with friends over a coffee. In fact, with a well thought-out backing-track or even a backing band, this could translate well in a live format. With a guitar and a keyboard at the ready, a message-sharing mission could be served as a nice, chilled outing.

This record is a marvelous effort, and those with a love for indie or folk rock should give Division & Difference a whirl or three. And those looking to take time for yourselves amongst the crazies and craziness of life? Come on in, let Bevan share some words of wisdom with you.

 

About Bevan Mical

Bevan Mical comes from a small town called Turua (twice seen) in New Zealand & pulls his songs from the long history of music.

His mother died at the tender age of 28 & with no Father taking over parental responsibilities he was moved to his fathers parents where hard work was the goal & relaxation was earned.

Music was felt deep down from an early age & in 1996 Bevan saw Crowded House : Farewell To The World & was mesmerized by the Waikato born Neil Finn & decided to learn the guitar.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Bevan Mical

Releases

Division & Difference
Year: 2023
Type: Album
Exhausting The Muse
Year: 2021
Type: Album
Swinging Through Trees
Year: 2020
Type: Album
One At A Time
Year: 2017
Type: Album

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