The MiCKS are an unsigned band from New Jersey, and this self-released EP is filled with untamed enthusiasm and a sense of untarnished possibility, two things that frequently make records from unsigned bands sound better than they actually are. You tend to get caught up in the energy and emotion.
But The MiCKS — Matt McMickle, Sam McMickle and Hank Prol — make rock ’n’ roll with a strong sense of history, pushing a lot of the right hot buttons, and they can write an actual song. They’re clearly fueled by enthusiasm, sometimes to a fault, but they largely back it up.
There’s a lot of 1960s in The MiCKS, which was a time when pop, garage rock and the blues were colliding in beautiful ways. “Different Walls,” for example, echoes The Yardbirds and Small Faces, with Matt McMickle singing like a more raw Steve Marriott or Terry Reid (although without either’s chops).
“The Dry Splash” has some serious bounce (and a small nod to Springsteen, apparently required of Jersey bands), while “Cry Every Time” marries a big pop hook with some unhinged background vocals from Sam McMickle. “Dancing for the Smokers” tries, and almost manages, to be a multilevel character study; it gets there emotionally, but the melodrama is a bit ripe.
The MiCKS have a ton of charm, good songs and occasional lapses in judgment, which is another of rock’s traditions, although not its best one.