There are a ton of jangly alt-pop bands out there that are falling into the too-crowded realm of the AAA radio format. Mission 19, a young band from Denver, will no doubt have to contend with the John Mayers and Widespread Panics of the world, but here’s a reason they will hang in there and make some noise: good songs. Frankly, there’s a lot of mediocre stuff on AAA radio right now, and as the major labels start cramming music into a genre once ruled by indies, albums like Mission 19’s latest,
Five Days From Home, will break through.
The first track here, “Calling,” has that college jam band/groove thing going on, and throws some very cool melodies in. “Make Up Your Mind” reminds me of an artist currently breaking named Graham Colton. In fact, lead singer Ryan McConeghy at time sounds like Colton, and also reminds me of Jason Mraz and even Chris Robinson from the Black Crowes. The same song also shows off Ryan’s incredible chops on lead guitar. “Vegas” is a moody and melodic piece that is neatly arranged, and “Sometimes Blonde” is so radio-friendly it could go up against anything on the air today.
While Mission 19 sounds great as a unit and their vocal harmonies give each chorus a nice lift, it’s in acoustic tracks like “Time for You” and “Goodbye” that McConeghy and Joe Nolan shine as a songwriting duo. “I Will Remain” has a hook reminiscent of 1990s pop band Deep Blue Something (what happened to them?). “Late Night Phone Calls” is about calling a girlfriend while drunk at 4 a.m., something most of us guys have probably done at some point in our lives. The only drawback here is that by the time you get to songs like “Never Have I Ever” and “Fallout,” the formula doesn’t change much. A lot of this record sounds the same, but lucky for us the songs are good enough to cover that up.
While Mission 19 does not reinvent the wheel here, Five Days from Home is a strong sophomore effort from a young band you should be hearing a lot more of as they continue to mature. Saying they are major-label ready isn’t the compliment it used to be, so I’ll just put it this way: Artists that stand the test of time are the ones that play with precision and write great music. So pick up the new Mission 19 record and let’s all meet back here in a few years.