I The Mighty has been on a trajectory of success ever since their signing to Equal Vision Records in 2011, releasing the impressive Karma Never Sleeps EP and their spectacular debut full-length Satori. In the two years following the release of the latter, the group has continued to develop their identity in post-hardcore, which we got a taste of in last year’s stand-alone single “Love Your Sin”, as well as many other influences, further evident in singer Brent Walsh’s debut solo album 7. With Connector, everything the band manages to do is beyond the scope of many bands within their genre commonly possess; something which shouldn’t be much of a surprise by now.
It is evident early into the album’s intro track that Walsh’s more soulful vocal delivery allows for even more fantastic melodies to match his lyrical stylings. The band behind him has no trouble matching the more diverse singing, continuing to implement the complex instrumentals they’ve come to be known for, while also experimenting to offer new, more synth-based sounds. Where “Lady of Death” falls in line as a more typical song by the band, “The Lying Eyes of Miss Erray” holds back that high-energy tempo until after a stunning opening verse that resonates throughout the rest of the track.
The album’s standout track comes at the end of its first half in the form of “Slow Dancing Forever”, the electronic ballad that lets Walsh’s vocals and storytelling take center stage. His chilling croons as he belts out a tale of a man being reunited with his lost lover after ignoring her warnings to miss his flight to her funeral. In the span of two verses and a chorus this story manages to be more heavy-hitting and beautiful than almost anything the band has ever done in the past. It’s followed by “Friends” featuring Max Bemis of Say Anything, which starts out with a synthesizer loop that is reminiscent of something out of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and progresses into one of the catchiest melodies on the album, as Walsh’s vocals act much like a wave, shifting from high to low with complete ease. Bemis’ appearance fits wonderfully into the band’s sound and adds that extra “umph” to the track.
Lead single “Playing Catch with .22” continues to feel like the most complete single the band has had to offer, combining mid to fast tempo verses and anthemic choruses with the intricate lead guitar work from Ian Pedigo and infectious rhythmic blasts from Blake Dahlinger. “Andrew’s Song” slows things down again in what is an excellent showcase of Dahlinger’s percussive talents and Walsh’s more introspective lyrics as his own personal storytelling proves to have evolved from what was featured on Satori.
It is worth noting the incredible work that producer Mike Green (Paramore, All Time Low) does throughout the record. Everything fits into the mix like a puzzle; the drums maintain the foundation with enough room to spread out and dictate the energy of each track, Walsh and Pedigo’s guitar work continues to mesmerize, Chris Hinkley’s bass grooves connect the two while occasionally stepping out on their own, and the extra layers added to the band’s sound aren’t overdone to the point of not being authentic. The addition of VERSA’s Sierra Key on “(No) Faith in Fate” is reminiscent of Satori’s “Four Letter Words” featuring Colleen D’Agostino of The Material, but Green’s hand in the mixing of Key and Walsh’s dual vocals feels inspired from his time in the studio with Hayley Williams and Paramore.
As Connector closes out with the final piece of the band’s “Frame” trilogy, I The Mighty rightfully claim their stake in the heart of the post-hardcore genre. Following suit with their influences and fellow genre-influential artists such as Circa Survive, Thrice and Coheed and Cambria, the unique elements that they have continued to offer for the past four years have become the foundation for their sound and identity. Where they were more technical on Satori, they are now wholly diverse from conception to execution. As a result we are left with yet another fulfilling release from a pool of talent that continues their rise in both success and unabashed creative flow.