BY MIKE BREEN · DECEMBER 10TH, 2014
Dave Grohl effectively made the old joke, “What was the last thing the drummer said before getting kicked out of the band? ‘Hey, let’s try one of my songs’ ” way less funny than it once was. Now, veteran Cincinnati drummer Mike Tittel is further taking the punch out of that punchline with the release of 44, the first album from his band New Sincerity Works.
The full-length is largely a solo project, with Tittel (longtime drummer in the band of local Power Pop king Roger Klug, among other projects) capably handling most bass, drums, guitar and vocal duties. He does enlist a handful of talented friends to guest on a few tracks, including Klug, psychodots bassist Bob Nyswonger and former Cincinnatian Mike Michel. Live, New Sincerity Works is Tittel, Greg Tudor, Tom White and Jenni Cox.
Even given the extensive experience of all involved, 44 is a remarkably accomplished debut effort, with Tittel’s songwriting being the prime reason. Tittel’s Indie Pop Rock songs are infectiously melodic, while his lyrics (which seem to deal with personal middle-age observations and revelations; “44” refers to Tittel’s age when he recorded the album) and vocal skills are also impressive. The music shows influence from classic “College Rock” to some of today’s Indie Rock, resultantly adding an element of timelessness to the full-length. The unfussy production gives much of 44 a live feel, which adds a certain intimacy to the songs.
Highlights abound on 44. Beginning with the compelling, ethereal lead-off track “Sincerely,” which floats sans drums, buoyed only by an acoustic guitar and painted with various shades of electric guitar coloring, the album moves gracefully from the Wilco-esque Pop of “Photographs” and the rumbling chime of “Know Yourself” (which is distantly reminiscent of French Indie Pop kings Phoenix) to the wistful, melancholic “As If We Are 24” and “Dreamers,” which recalls early R.E.M., The Replacements and The Smithereens.
The album was released on Dec. 9 on iTunes and CD Baby (it’s also available at local-music-friendly area retailers). The full band will make its first live appearance this Saturday to celebrate the release of 44 at MOTR Pub (1345 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, motrpub.com). Klug will be sitting in with the band and Mike Landis will fill in for Cox on bass. New Sincerity Works opens for Exit Verse at the free show, kicking things off at 9:30 p.m.
For more info on the project (as well as a short “making of” documentary called Nowhere Ohio), visit newsincerityworks.com