From leading the ’90s UK rock scene with Apes, Pigs & Spacemen through to a wealth of guest appearances on other artists’ albums, TV and film soundtracks, this year, Derby-based singer-songwriter PAUL MIRO has emerged from an acoustic cocoon with a new sound, and his most compelling collection of musical tales to date.

freepawn150As the frontman and songwriter behind the 1990s Kerrang-obsessed rock powerhouse that was Apes, Pigs & Spacemen, Paul Miro cut a compelling and audibly jaw-dropping figure. With his colossal vocal range, and tendency to flip between ground shaking guttural barks and heart-shredding melodic masterpieces, AP&S grabbed the throat of UK rock in 1995, poured a giddy cocktail of rock and grindcore metal down its parched neck before churning out critically acclaimed albums Transfusion (1995), Snapshot (1998) and Free Pawn (2003). But being the eclectic songwriter Paul Miro is, his musical output has always reached places way beyond the mosh pits of Europe…

earthlypowers3Always dedicated to simply writing good music, over the past two decades Miro has also crafted songs for a variety of other artists, television programs and feature films – you will no doubt have heard his music playing on TV shows you’ve watched without realising it – totalling an eye-popping 2,000 songs. Aside from his soundtrack CV, numerous other musical concerns and producing gigs, Miro tapped into his Tom Waits and lo-fi likings for his first “official” solo album in 2005, the fantastically eclectic Earthly Powers. From the trip-hop massage of ‘Roll On Saturday’ through to the athletic, multi-layered harmonies that kick-start the summer fizz of ‘Empty Head’, Miro’s dedicated followers were both surprised and delighted with the breezy but poignant pop river that ran throughout Earthly Powers.

boatscover3His second solo album, B.O.A.T.S. (Based On A True Story) saw the apes, the pigs and the spacemen go off on an intergalactic holiday, with Miro very much back on Earth and here to stay with an anthemic and irresistible new country-tinged direction. It is a future-looking, retooled soundscape that was arguably Miro’s most impressive and first-person confessional collection of songs – and direction – at the time of its release.

From the effortless, infectious road trip singalong of ‘Bad, Bad Day’ through to stunning A cappella epilogue ‘Bring Out Your Dead’, B.O.A.T.S. cruises along with beautifully crafted melodies and compelling lyrics, taking in unexpected waters and moods along the way. The destined-to-be-a-hit wry grin of ‘SSDD’ gets inside your head after the first chorus and doesn’t care that its loveably sarcastic call to arms will have you sneering at your idiotic boss at the office, while the earnest and rousing love song ‘Ask Anyone’ reminds you what the big ‘L’ is really all about.

On B.O.A.T.S. Miro’s weapons of choice are serene acoustic and pedal-steel guitars of the old country, trip-hop loops and synth bleeps, all washed down with a large single malt and that skyscraping voice that only belongs to Paul Miro.

syg150Miro’s brand new album, Sometimes You Get, Sometimes You Get Got (SYG,SYGG), sees him stepping up into another gear altogether. It bursts open with a wall of guitars and a stack of vocals wide enough to fill a stadium, into a powerhouse rock anthem, Guinea Pigs, which will leave many wondering if they are in fact listening to AP&S. Next comes the album’s title track – a Telecaster & brass-driven Motown stomp with one of those annoying Miro choruses that you will find stuck in your head. Miro takes a journey through a range of styles – from the driving-in-an-open-topped-car radio friendliness of Your Only One, into the Latin-tinged hypnotic epic Esperando un Milagro, the beach bum fun of Hideaway, the dark New York sleaze of Hangin’ Around, with more healthy doses of rock and his unique 21st century take on Motown, finishing with the baritone brilliance of Carry On.

Miro manages somehow to combine a sense of familiarity, consistently turning cogent lyrical phrases, whilst keeping the content suspiciously absent of cliché. The central sound is guitars and vocals layered to the point of irrationality. It is without doubt Miro’s finest piece of production to date, with his incredible voice sounding better than it ever has. Consistency, it is said, is the refuge of the unimaginative. Miro’s music is always full of surprises and reveals more with each listen. If he can be accused of consistency, it is only insofar as he continues to get better.


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