Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
These are hungry blazes. These are scary little demons wearing shredded clothing and funked out shoes, carrying torches and wooden clubs or pitching wedges. These are the peculiar times in our lives when we really, really feel as if nothing's making any sense anymore, as if the bottom has dropped out of all things sane and left us with a hand full of improprieties and ghastly wounds. The songs of Mi Ami, the San Franciscan trio made up of two members of Dischord group Black Eyes (singer Daniel Martin-McCormick and bassist Jacob Long) and drummer Damon Palermo, are covered in hypothermia and fright, white to the sight, as if they've either just seen a ghost or are the ghosts themselves - as if it really matters much. It's as if there's always a bit of evil lurking on the insides of Martin-McCormick's eyelids, giving him reminders of the badness every time he blinks during the daylight - flashing its threats abruptly and resiliently - and every time he lies down to get some healthy sleep at night. The scariness and damaging images and freakouts are pierced by wails and Martin-McCormick's one-of-a-kind vocals that remind us of the things we liked about Whirlwind Heat, even if most of the discussion would go along like a conversation about apples and oranges. The faint semblance is enough of a lure to make us sweat and worry about what's out there, what's actually chasing the guy with the microphone. What's out there that's so frightening or bothersome? Do we need some tranquilizer darts? Are there already some available, locked and loaded? Should we have gotten more of a head start in the opposite direction? We're worried and then we're lulled into these jungle-like trenches, where it feels as if we're dodging danger on the sly, crouched down and being silent for our lives as the denseness and the eerie phantoms roam hunting us off to the side, looking for us, looking for the break that will allow them to chase some more. It's all just an audio brushfire, mixing gasoline with everything flammable within reach, adding more gasoline so that it gets a whole lotta out of control and keeps it all within the confines of the dervish, without expectancy, without remorse or calm. It just rips and snorts and gives off the most jarring and racing sensation of drama that one could ever hope for. It's a stampede of riotous friction and there's no telling which side of combatants is going to leave the ring with their arms raised in what could resemble a victory. Even with a decision, the Mi Ami music feels as if it will always run scared, spreading the fever of the fear along with its tracks like the epidemic that it wants to see flourish.