Mike Borgia is ‘a self contained rock troubadour’ based in New York. Whilst the record is released with ‘and the Problems’ on its cover, this is very much a solo affair, with Borgia credited with performing all of the parts aside from drums and some additional percussion, by Brian Bauer and cello, expertly played by Nathan MacCormack. The E.P consists of five tracks, and appears to be self released by Borgia.
As expected, it’s a singer songwriter effort, focused on vocal lead, guitar based songs. However the arrangements, specifically the use of drum kit throughout, give these songs more of a rock kick than initially expected. Despite lyrical content, the pieces never enter into the mournful pit of self-loathing and depression singer songwriters often find themselves in, and it all skips along at a reasonable pace, which suits his rock-vocal stylings.
The tracks on this EP all fit into very similar musical territory, but it’s short enough for the listener not to tire of this. Additionally, Borgia keeps his songs concise, without the unnecessary repetition, which often leaves me uninspired by singer songwriter types. Particularly fresh sounding are the dramatic tempo changes found between lines on closer ‘Honeymoon Suite’, which, along with changes in instrumentation, make for some nice variations on familiar material.
The production on the EP isn’t top notch. The sound is good, with instruments sitting well together in the mix and it definitely isn’t a demo or bedroom recording. It just lacks that commercial sheen, which I guess adds authenticity to it as an independent release. It isn’t going to set the world alight, but it is a solid, enjoyable record of well-crafted songs. If I did ratings, I’d go with three stars.