There’s joy and sadness in the new solo LP from Nick Mitchell Maiato. The joy is always inherent in his works — it’s a feeling that bubbles under his songwriting these days and one that explodes into waves of color when he lets fly guitar parts that shift and shimmer as much as they burn incandescently. The sadness comes, as most seems to of late, with the knowledge of what could have been had we all not been set adrift due to disease. The songs on this album were to be the beginning sketches of the lineup for a third One Eleven Heavy album that, at least in this form, will likely never be. The band was set to convene and combine these with works by Toth and Chew that would have carved themselves into their latest love letter to classic rock cyphers and cosmic choogle. That third album will come, but not as it was originally conceived.
Still, the feelings of joy should win out in this struggle of the senses and sentiments, as we cannot lament forever what might have been and instead have to embrace what Pino Carrasco has become. Those sketches were worked into full flight songs that embrace Nick’s half of the Heavies — the buoyant tangle of guitar that’s rooted in Crazy Horse’s grit, Canned Heat’s heartbeat boogie, and Satana’s playful willingness to experiment with rhythm. That Nick’s able to channel the push/pull feeling of testing one another that a full band can attain is impressive to say the least, for an artist alone. While the Heavies have an ecstatic dynamic, Maiato’s able to create his own imaginary ensemble in the studio, adopting amiably the instruments of his peers and creating a whiskey-rubbed Brill Building of one with cosmic ambitions. The dynamic comes to a head on the album’s anchor pieces “Show Yourself” and “Ode To What,” the latter an impressive feat of time-change gymnastics that tumbles the listener through more than a few hairpin highs. Don’t lament the loss, just let Pino Carrasco lift up your heart during the dour months. Its a sunshine-scrubbed delight that keeps the listener on their toes.