‘Silent’ Mike McKinnon has been anything but “quiet” since the singer/guitarist parted ways with Notts garage punks The Hip Priests a few years back. Initially putting together a well-received set of acoustic tunes as a self-released/self-titled debut back in 2019, before joining hard rockers Wraith as their lead singer and then subsequently re-joining NOOSE, the band he initially left to join the Priests for. Phew! In between all of this Mike somehow also found time to continue releasing solo songs and covers EPs throughout lockdown, oh and let’s not forget a live acoustic album too.
But, as that wise old punk rock sage Jimmy Cricket (eh?) once used to say…”there’s more”.
Yes siree, as coming out via Bandcamp on 21st November 2021, Mike is about to reveal the follow up to his self-titled acoustic record, in the shape of ‘All Sides Disaster’ PLUS an all-new hardcore punk album, going by the name of ‘Silent Like A Bomb’.
Building on the rock-solid foundations of Mikes’s self-titled debut acoustic record and containing a dozen all new tracks, the immediate thing that hits me about this follow up is just how much McKinnon has grown into the role of vocalist with (the curiously titled) ‘There’s One I In Win’ in particular being a superb example of a musician totally at ease with his weapon of choice. Plus, with ‘Inner Revolution’ ‘Not Giving Up’ and ‘Gotta Change’ having already crept out via Bandcamp during lockdown it’s exciting to discover that the final versions that make ‘All Sides Disaster’ are all much more developed those earlier pseudo demo versions.
There’s nowhere to hide when its just you and a guitar fronting up to an audience so the songs you play certainly have to be good to carry things off and keep people’s attention and on ‘All Sides Disaster’ Mike has written a diverse array of tunes that range from the Americana tinged ‘Run For It Marty’ to the now electro pop influenced ‘Not Giving Up’, and via the RATM style rap breakdown during the excellent ‘Broken From The Inside’ he has more than enough musical curveballs to keep the biggest gig loudmouth quiet..
Then again Mike could always just strap on his electric guitar and play the ten songs that make up his ‘Silent Like A Bomb’ record, as this is one hell of a joyous punk rock racket that would be impossible for anyone to talk though. Simply because you’d be too fucking busy in the pit to do any chinwagging.
Recorded with the help of a couple of da Priests (Des on drums and Ben on guest lead for the deathpunk beast ‘Fuelling The Tanks’) with Bitch Queen’s Harry Darling providing the final mix ‘Silent Like a Bomb’ is a record that immediately “goes off”, from the opening riff of the 52 second awesomeness of ‘Misdirection’ it doesn’t let you go until the album’s title track and closer has left you totally drained. This is the record that the young Mike that’s grinning out at you from the cover of his ‘All Sides Disaster’ would have been kickflipping all around his local skate park to back in the day, but before you think it’s just a homage to ‘80s hardcore/crossover take a listen to the likes of ‘We May Never Know’ with its fantastic pop/punk vocal undertones or the almost Priests-like ‘Set Up To Fail’ both of which lend ‘Silent Like a Bomb’ a very modern edge indeed.
It would be great to see Mike doing these ‘Silent Like A Bomb’ songs live with a full band, simply because they are some of the most exhilarating UK hardcore tunes I’ve heard in quite some time and they really do deserve to be heard all around the world. The mission to do just that kicking off at Mike’s album release/birthday party on November 21st at Foremans Bar in Nottingham, and if you cannot make that night then both albums are available to pre-order right now via the links below.
Author: Johnny Hayward