Mike Downey Adventure, Bless, and Don't Be Sorry

When American cutesy power poppers Wolfie split at the turn of the millennium, instead of vanishing into obscure oblivion, the two parties moved on in different directions. Joe and Amanda Ziemba went on to form the Like Young, and Mike Downey tried his hand at music under the guises of Mathlete (which was a simultaneous project alongside Wolfie), the National Splits and the New Constitution. Now living in Sweden after deserting his home of Chicago, Downey has found more inspiration through bedroom recordings that cuts straight to the heart of his music. Adventure, Bless, and Don’t Be Sorry is more adventurous than the standard acoustic singer-songwriter fluff saturating coffee shops and street corners. Downey’s looked to his laptop for inspiration but unfortunately, despite his obvious attempts to avoid the dull trappings of such songwriting, he’s become the other dreaded archetype: an established songwriter-cum-novice technological experimentalist. Along with his guitar, Downey has thrown on layers of bleeping synths, uncontrollable drum machines and the odd sample that just makes for a confusing and sloppy jumble of sounds that never gel properly. In his bid to either reinvent or find himself — or even worse, both — Downey has fallen into the trappings of a last ditch attempt for salvation by a desperate songwriter. No matter how derivative their power pop was, at least Wolfie could write a good melody. Apparently it was all on the Ziembas end. (Luna)