Having been released in 2019, the album Wishes is a listening party I am sad to be late to.
Wishes, however, is a listening party that all are welcome to, and should definitely enjoy (no matter what time we arrive).
ATMIG (After The Money Is Gone) present a debut album that deserves not just one listen through, but many more. With Tobias Lipski on guitar and vocals, Julia Hickling also on vocals, Dave Taylor on drums, and Phil LaDouceur on bass and trumpet (as well as a large collection of other instruments), the metro Detroit dwellers recorded the cohesive album right here in Michigan.
Aesthetically, Wishes presents beautiful photograps captured by Heart District Photography. The band and cover character are decorated in classy black and white attire, with gold makeup gleaming. The album booklet includes all of the songs’ lyrics, so that the listener can follow along and pick their favorite line.
Wishes is a spectacular album, through and through. It welcomes the challenges and uncertainty of life with clever lyrics, and fearless optimism to explore.
It captivates the listener immediately with an intro that vibes a lost needle among hay, an intro which Elliott Smith would be proud of. The song eludes, “Now I see my shoes, one small step to see what’s ahead…” and the journey begins. “Intro” melts into the uptempo track, “Trip”, which brings forth the intense desire to pop in this CD, go for a long drive and turn up the radio… much like the feeling I get when listening to Bright Eyes’ “Another Traveling Song”.
Uptempo jams are mixed with slower songs like “Dictaphone”, which presents lovely harmonies, and beautiful orchestration that layer on top of prancing guitar. Its lyrics question, “…if I sing to you, is the beauty lost or are you aching?” Tobias and Julia’s voices blend just as well as those of Charles Thompson IV and Kim Deal (or Paz Lenchantin, to keep our reference more current!).
Guitar effects through tracks like “Mend” give a full, layered, and memorable production. The song’s riff is easy to get stuck in your head, and want to jam over and over. The album is packed with inspiring lyrics throughout, with “Mend” housing a great chorus example ; “And don’t do wrongs you can’t right, and don’t cause harm with delight. And don’t ever feel that you don’t belong, and don’t start fires you can’t fight”. These songs are filled with lyrics that make it easy to relate to on many levels.
Without a doubt, Wishes’ beautiful prose is a light in our dark world. The album builds wonderfully with clear influence from the likes of Modest Mouse and Death Cab For Cutie. That being said, ATMIG portrays an amalgam sound that is all their own.
The album’s memorable title track laments over a churning guitar, “Call your wishes a spitting image of pushy business, selling weakness”.
“Whale” allows the listener to easily picture a gentle giant gliding through the sea. The song begins with deep, echoing effects, and welcomes in an introspective conversation. Moby Dick’s Ahab is cleverly referenced in the album’s booklet, displaying yet another attention to storytelling and detail.
The stunning and emotive track, “Elliott Smith” seems to observe a songwriter from both a listener’s perspective, and one a songwriter can relate to. “Without the pure sound I might never have found, someone who needs to hear tears to feel that we’re not far apart…” As is common throughout the whole of wishes, intricate guitar and gorgeous harmonies grace the entire song.
Next, the outro takes the album full circle, ending with that lyric, “Now I see my shoes… One small step to see what’s ahead.”
A hidden gem makes itself known as an uptempo hidden track, where “Trip”‘s lyrics are presented with a slightly different twist as that trip is taken down someone else’s awesome life. “…so we can see what happens when you do not have to hide who you are.”
The folk and rock laden album absolutely leaves the listener feeling fulfilled upon its conclusion, yet still wanting another play through to catch each nuance and purposeful lyric. Each song jives together perfectly, and makes it easy to picture catching an ATMIG show, hearing this music all around in a live setting.
Speaking of which, ATMIG can be found at PJ’s Lager House in Detroit on April 7th, and at New Dodge Lounge in Hamtramck on May 4th. The band is also currently planning a show with indie greats The Mommyheads this June. ATMIG will be featured in the upcoming Deep Cuts Documentary that takes a glance through the revival of vinyl records, and are actively working on new music.
Wishes tracklist :
4. No One’s Home
6. On Fumes
11. Elliott Smith
13. (hidden track)
“Trip” music video :
For more information and updates on ATMIG, please be sure to check out the following links…
Album review by Tiffany Cuthrell, featured photo by Heart District Photography