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CD REVIEW: Mike Germano - 'Side Street Cafe'
By Steve Allat - 03/16/2004 - 03:58 PM EST

Artist: Mike Germano
Album: 'Side Street Cafe'
CD Review: Label: Sound Potential Records
Tracks: 17
Released: 2003
For Fans Of:: Chris Isaak, Blue Ixy (see review)
Fav Track: Rain, She Gets Her Way, Promises We Made.

I have to start off this review with a compliment to Mike for his style. From the moment I saw the CD, read his intro letter and briefly scanned the CD insert I was already impressed. All of these things are signs of someone who knows himself, and understands the importance of the art of presentation. With that behind me, all I had to do now was listen to the music.

As I'm not a huge fan of adult contemporary, I was a little unsure, but did listen with an open ear.

What Mike has done with his songs, is the same thing as his vision for the overall presentation. He has mixed a little pop, acoustic, jazz and soft rock together and come up with something you would want to hear if you were enjoying yourself on a breezy afternoon or evening at . . . The Side Street Cafe. The songs drift from one to the other with little effort, sometimes seamed together with catchy interludes (a nice touch). This is easy listening, believe me. You will expend no effort in allowing the songs to drift by, something they do almost too easily.

Hmm, what does that mean? It means that if I had a wish list for Mike's work, it would consist of: a little more adventure, more vocals (layering lead and/or background) and a little more loose production. The sound is impeccable, and in this digital age, I think it actually detracts a bit, cuz you just wouldn't hear that from a guy strumming and singing down at the cafe.

My favourite tracks on the album were the ones where there was a definite edge - whether in the actual music (guitar) or the 'attack' of the song (She Gets Her Way, Promises Were Made). I'd like a bit more of that from Mike - not instead of anything on the CD, but rather, in addition to.

The songs themselves didn't really speak to me, but I think that's part of their enjoyability. Who wants something heavy served up for lunch? You can take it as you like, in pieces or in it's entirety, and it sounds basically the same. Mike has his sound, and while it's a bit too melancholy for me . . . that just proves that I'm not melancholy.

If you are a fan of adult contemporary, do give Mike a listen. I think you'll enjoy

Contact: Mike Germano
Website: Mike Germano: Singer/Songwriter

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