EP Review: MICKEY B – Dry Lands
MICKEY B is the new name taken up by the artist previously known as Mikele. Mikele used to do trap rock, which already sounds somewhat adventurous, but MICKEY B goes even further with his experiments. "Dry Lands" EP gives us the first taste of those.

The EP is just three tracks long, however these three tracks cover the artist's dramatic journey through "the desert that exists between slavery and freedom". The press release does not explicitly name what kind of slavery MICKEY B went through, but the song's lyrics mention substances, lust and gluttony. All of those could be the artist's dark experiences or pure poetic justice. We don't know, and we don't need to, as long as the music moves us. And it definitely does.

The journey begins with "Land of Dust". The guitars are textural, and the waltzing drums are reverberated and meek, especially compared to the prominent beats once utilized by Mikele. All of this is understandable, because on "Dry Lands" MICKEY B's vocals are the center of attention. They are extremely emotional, reaching the levels found in fado or Russian romance. If you seek comparisons from popular music, the first that comes to mind is Muse, the band heavily influenced by the latter genre.

The song's lyrics make references to movement, continuing the idea of the artist's journey. MICKEY B is "driving under the influence", but "can't seem to find his way home". He only has two tracks left to complete this mission, and we are excited to follow him along.

It looks like finding the way home is impossible without breaking the chains first. Hence the name of the second track. It's as textural as the previous track, but the drums are more robust, and the transparent yet warm acoustic guitar plays a memorable pattern that wouldn't be out of place on a retro sophisti-pop record. There are emotional twists and turns in the song's structure, but in the end MICKEY B overcomes his struggles and "sets out towards the land and away from the sound of chains on the ground".

"Wash My Hands" marks the end of the journey. It brings the long-awaited feelings of ease, freedom and relief. They are achieved by using highly melodic vocal lines, aided by instrumental counterpoints. The song's sonic palette is rich and features strings, piano and wailing guitars, apart from the instruments we've already heard on this release. The decision has come. MICKEY B "no longer wants to be part of this". The chains are broken and he washes his hands.

But we know there is expectation hanging in the air. Where one journey ends, another begins. "Dry Lands" EP is so emotionally charged and sonically brave that the listeners are left wondering what to expect after such a statement. And we hope the wait isn't going to take long.