CD review: Miracle Legion, Portrait of a Damaged Family

TWENTY years after its original release had all the impact of a kitten weeing in the Atlantic, thanks in large part to the efforts of their criminally useless record company, Miracle Legion’s swansong is finally enjoying a proper outing and will be accompanied by a summer reunion tour of the US and the UK.

If foremost in your mind is the question “who?”, Miracle Legion were peers of REM from Connecticut, though their equally Anglo-friendly output garnered kudos rather than coins thanks to a run of adroit college rock albums through the early 1980s and 1990s. After disbanding in 1996 singer Mark Mulcahy went on to have a solo career while two of his colleagues chummed up with a post-Pixies Black Francis.

What strikes you most about Portrait is neither how old-school it sounds nor how strong an influence Miracle Legion and their ilk have been on subsequent artists such as Scotland’s Life Without Buildings, but rather how darned unfair the music business can be. Herein lie ever-optimistic, succinctly melodious pop songs which even the most aimless record label should have been able to capitalise upon, crowned by one of the most under-appreciated voices in rock. Success, however modest, should have swiftly followed. One can only hope a small measure of justice can be delivered second time around.



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