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Mike Borgia - Philistines & Alcoholics

Mike Borgia - Philistines & Alcoholics

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The ever prominent Mike Borgia is back, album number seven from New York’s finest singer/songwriter follows up from 2007’s highly acclaimed ‘Issues To Egos’. It’s a tough act to follow in all honesty, we gave the album all the praise in the world and it really was a great effort. Borgia’s always had a great ability to write some great songs, ‘Philistines & Alcoholics’ is no exception, one or two stand out as completely top class.

Sadly, that’s or two stand out, as an overall album it doesn’t quite capture the imagination as well or as comprehensively as it’s predecessor. In fairness to Borgia, some of the songs on here are just as good, if not better than anything he’s done before. There is a case of killer and filler going on though, the first two songs, the beautiful ‘With No Regrets’ and then bluesy-sounding ‘Time Is Gold’ make for a really good start and you start to feel as though you’re on familiar territory, third song ‘No Cure’ is a little off colour and by the time we come to ‘Can’t Find Love’ it’s becoming clear that this is a different Mike Borgia to the guy who released the previous six albums, it’s a mellower affair, less concerned with instant hooks and catchy songs, everything is a little softer and subtler now.

The chorus of ‘Can’t Find Love’ is one of the saving graces of the entire album, a brilliant chorus, and a reminder of what Borgia has given us in so many other albums, the key change in this song also serves as a nice melodic point. ‘Too Young’ is an overall amazing song, possibly the strongest of the whole album, though by this point anybody looking for another ‘Angels Falling Over’ or ‘Issues To Egos’ should stick to the older material. ‘Exit’ is a complete departure from almost anything Borgia has done previously, ending in a nice vocal montage, it’s practically an interlude, not one of the better parts of the album. ‘You Were Right’ has a really nice feel as the album starts to wind down, some really nice melodies mixed with interesting guitar picking, it’s easily one of the most chilled out songs on the album. ‘Nerves’ serves as a nice bluesy ending to the album, almost wailing in parts and Borgia’s vocal abilities being showcased to possibly his full potential.

Every album Borgia provides another song where he pushes the limits of his vocal abilities, every time it seems he can’t possibly go any higher he brings out another gem. Two of the songs on this album, ‘With No Regrets’ and ‘Too Young’ are a fine example of this. Unfortunately it feels like something’s missing, there isn’t really huge Borgia-esque instant classic on this album, not to detract from the other songs but it really does show and the album suffers slightly overall for this omission. It’s probably a sign of the times that Borgia’s music is developing and moving further into that softer feel, the passion is unquestionable, but the songs feel as though they could’ve used a little more development. Everything feels a little half baked, the songs are raw, which is probably the feel that Borgia was going for, and of its own accord it sounds fine, but for those of you who fell in love with ‘Issues To Egos’ and some other memorable Mike Borgia songs, then this album as a whole does tend to disappoint slightly; which is a real shame given the quality of some of the songs.

‘Philistines & Alcoholics’ contains some of Borgia’s best songs to date, but as an overall album you can’t help but feel there’s something missing or it is lacking an overall quality and finesse. If you’re already a fan then this is worth a listen, if you’re looking for a first taste of Mike Borgia then it may be worth looking through the back catalogue for an introduction rather than this album.

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