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Local Duo Impresses with Debut Album

Observer Scene | Sunday, April 27, 2008

On MacGyver vs. Matlock’s debut album the band achieves something that takes other groups years – they successful meld several different styles into a homogenous sound.

“The Dog and the Wolf” is MvM’s first CD – a joint effort between Notre Dame senior Pat Jaicomo and Martin Kent (a student at Ball State).

Jaicomo is a musician from the word go. In addition to singing on the album, he also plays multiple instruments. In fact, the band, despite having only two people, plays all their own instruments – drums, guitar, and bass, just to name a few. Jaicomo is the lead singer of campus band Threat Level Midnight, and Kent is an audio major at Ball State, and was in charge of the entire mixing, mastering and recording process.

All 13 tracks off the CD are originals. Even the artwork of the album is done by the band.

The CD opens with the instrumental track “I Hope to See You Soon.” This song sets the tone for the album. Rhythmic electric guitar and crashing cymbals fuse with just a slight air of electronica. Although probably not one of the stronger efforts on the album, the song sets up the listener for the next song – “Heroes Don’t Call Themselves Heroes.”

This track opens with simple, if almost understated, piano. It is suddenly backed by some powerful electric guitar riffs, and then layered with some well placed electronic beats. Jaicomo and Keck’s voices shine on this track, creating a song that is extremely well done.

Another highlight of the album is “The Jumping Off Place.” The song opens with some soulful acoustic guitar and heartfelt lyrics, but is more than just the average emo-ballad. The lyrics are impressive and though it is one of the less complex songs on the album, it is devastating in its simplicity.

“In the Grand Scheme of Things, Such as Geology, Ten Years Is Not That Much,” might be the strongest song on the album. Its electronic beats and rhythms are unbelievable addicting, and the song extremely approachable.

The seventh track is “Oakleaf Drive,” and is one of the strongest on the album. When asked to pick one “single” from the album, Jaicomo picked this one, although with some difficulty.

“Picking one single is like trying to decide which of your children is your favorite,” he said in an interview on Sunday, “but I would say that at this moment in time my favorite track is probably Oakleaf Drive. Over the past summer Martin and I lived in apartment in a kind of rough area of Indianapolis (actually the apartment complex itself was really the rough area). When he played me his first draft of this song I really felt like he absolutely hit the nail on the head with what it was like for us. On top of the lyrics I really love the different textures that ebb ad flow throughout the composition.”

The personal connection the artists have with this song definitely shines through, making “Oakleaf Drive” one of the album’s best offerings.

MacGyver Vs. Matlock’s sound is difficult to define. Part Fall Out Boy and part Early November, tangentially touched with Fall Out Boy’s emo-influenced lyrics, and finished off with wildly inventive hints of electronica reminiscent of The Postal Service and Death Cab for Cutie, MacGyver Vs. Matlock is the audiophiles dream. Make sure you listen to the album with good speakers and definitely in stereo – the band use of multiple channels adds a great deal of depth to the music.

This CD isn’t yet available in stores, but can be picked up for just $8 on the band’s website at macgyvervsmatlock.com. Consider adding this CD to your collection – it would be money well spent.