The job of an opening act is to pump up the crowd, but not too much.
On a cold December night at Tempe’s Club Red, the little known band MisterWives from New York City accomplished that task.
Lead singer Mandy Lee hopped around on stage sporting the hipster band staple of a thrift store dress and her apparently trademark flower head band shaking a tambourine to almost every song, even if it didn’t need the accompaniment.
Her job was to evoke some kind of life into the small crowd still filtering into the club and the patrons already there who were more concerned about their drinks than the music being played.
The band put on a good show, showing some of their inexperience on the stage and had to work through the typical microphone and PA system bugs like any opening act.
MisterWives dropped its first EP titled “Reflections” last week.
Its new EP, as well as its opening set, was pleasantly surprising; yet, the young band has some room for improvement as its members gain more experience on the road and in the studio.
The EP is available on iTunes, Spotify and free online at SoundCloud.
The band is built around the vocal capabilities of the young Lee. Lee is known for teaming up with The Knocks to be the vocal component of the cover of the M83 song “Midnight City.”
Listening to her for the first time, the best way to describe her voice would be a poor man’s Florence Welch with more of a poppy vibe.
The best songs on the EP are those in which she lets her voice loose, and some tracks accomplish this more than others.
The song with the most potential is “Kings and Queens.” The verses are wrought with Lee’s soft, melodious singing only to quickly transfer to a higher-frequency belt for the choruses. The song also has a strong balance of electronic filler piano tones as well as guitar and drums for the entire song.
The key moment has to be a quick two pounds on the snare drum before the transition from each verse to chorus. It serves as a perfect hook.
The bridge of the song showcases Lee’s chords as she cleanly hits the highest note of the EP right before the final chorus.
Despite the catchiness of “Kings and Queens” and the strong songwriting and lower tone of “Vagabond,” other tracks show the new band needs some maturation.
The first track on the EP “Twisted Tongue” almost has a “please like us and put this on the radio” sound. It is the typical, “you are a jerk” song with overdone lyrics like, “Cause you’re sweet not sour / You’re a weed not a flower,” as the chorus cornerstone.
The attempt on a more serious, sober song “Coffins,” was another swing and a miss. The lyrics were hinting at something to bring out some human emotion and Lee sounded held back and could not fully let it rip to translate those feelings.
MisterWives are just starting out and the “Reflections” EP does show some promise for a young band.
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @Edmund_Hubbard