Mike Viola – Paul McCarthy
Arguably best known for his work with Candy Butchers, Panic! at the Disco or Ryan Adams, I had become familiar with Mike Viola from his collaboration with Bleu McCauley and Dicky Carlisle as Major Labels. Their 2009 release, an inconsistent collection of wanna-be hits called Aquavia contained the instant classic, “Velveteen Queen”. I’ve been intrigued with their work ever since.
Maybe I’m Amazed (Then Again…)
Fast forward to 2023’s Paul McCarthy. You’ve got to have a set of cajones to name an album after the worlds greatest songwriter. And when you do, it had better be good. Fortunately, he has and it is.
Recorded over the summer of 2022, Viola is driven by instinct, his “kid brain”, as he blasts through nine disparate nuggets, each with its own distinct appeal. The opener, “Bill Viola”, is an attempt to explain his life’s journey syphoned through a Weezer guitar crunch. It’s instantly appealing and one of my favorite tracks of 2023.
If it’s a harder rock sound you prefer, look no further than “Water Makes Me Sick”. In the category of songs that make you feel something, there’s “Love Letters From a Childhood Sweetheart”. If this song doesn’t move you, then it’s time to call an EMT – you simply do not have a pulse. “Scientist Alexis” is a start to finish hook propelled by a memorable chorus and killer guitar riff.
Honesty, Crunch & Hooks
Ironically, the only song that doesn’t connect is the title track. Overall though, its a joy to hear a master of his craft having fun and letting loose with honesty, guitar crunch and hooks on full display. Get your copy of Mike Viola’s Paul McCarthy from Apple Music.