Review: Mike Pinto – The West Is Still Wild EP

Review: Mike Pinto – The West Is Still Wild EP

Mike Pinto – The West Is Still Wild EP
Track Listing
1.) Feet Don’t Fail Me Now
2.) The West is Still Wild
3.) The Cool and The Deadly
4.) Turn You On
5.) Everything I Got
6.) Fears and Phobias (acoustic)

The Pier Album Rating:

Release Date: Sept 6th, 2011
Official Website: Mike Pinto Website

Group Background:
Mike Pinto is in no way a newcomer. He’s been on the scene as a solo artist since 2005 having released 3 albums as well as being featured on various compilation albums. He’s been on a few world tours and over the last 3 years, Mike Pinto teamed up with former Bargain Music drummer Todd Elrod and bassist Matt Brein to create the Mike Pinto Band.

The first release for the band as a whole is this six track EP entitled The West is Still Wild. It was produced by Lewis Richards at 17th Street Recording Studios, in Costa Mesa (The Dirty Heads, Slightly Stoopid, and Sublime with Rome). Mike described the cover art to the EP as a contrast between the old western days transcending into today, hence The West Is Still Wild. Shows today’s venues side by side with Long Beach’s DiPiazza’s and San Diego’s Winstons. The art was done by Paul Carpenter, the same artist who drew up his previous releases.

The album will be available for digital download starting September 6th, 2011 and you’ll be able to pick up a hardcopy of this new release, at any of the groups shows starting September 13th, 2011. You can find Mike Pinto music in both physical & digital format inside The Pier Store, by clicking HERE

Album Review:
I was so relieved when I played the Mike Pinto Band’s upcoming EP, The West is Still Wild, and found out it wasn’t terrible. I really didn’t want my first album review as a member of The Pier to be a negative one. I was prepared to do it if I needed to, but I’m glad that I don’t have anything to worry about. No one enjoys giving a bad review and releases like this make my job easy.

“Feet Don’t Fail Me Now” is the first track on the album and features special guests DeLa from Slightly Stoopid on saxophone and Juan Rios from Seedless on keys. The song is well executed and the lyrics make you stop and think as they express emotions we can all relate to: not taking your own advice, questioning decisions and the fear of growing older. By the end of the song, the lush sounds of the Mike Pinto Band help us realize everything usually turns out just fine so we might as well have a good time while we can.

The most upbeat song on the EP, and my personal favorite, is the title track The West is Still Wild. The song perfectly combines elements of ska, rock and reggae and the impeccable sound quality allows the music to speak for itself without being distracted by bad mixing. When the song starts, it sounds like it’s going to be a hard rock tune but the band turns everything around and gets your feet moving with a high-hat heavy back beat. The sound is a collaboration of old school rock meets new school reggae and the result is a genre all its own.

Long-time Mike Pinto fans should recognize the song Everything I Got since it was the title track for Pinto’s 2009 acoustic solo album. The Mike Pinto Band breathes new life into a song that was already great on its own and it’s like hearing it for the first time all over again. It starts out subtly, a single strum layered behind Pinto’s vocals, add in a little drums for effect and by the time the entire band kicked in I was hoping the guys would go back and re-do all the old acoustic songs.

Turn You On is a more dubbed out track and it seems like the band is trying to find their niche with such a variety of songs on the album and this track definitely feels like home. It starts out with heavy revered drum and bass and slowly adds in the classic reggae bubble on the keys. Then, the horn section comes out of left field and steals the spotlight with perfectly coordinated melodies reigning throughout the song.

I can’t lie – I’m a complete sucker for a good acoustic song and with Mike Pinto’s voice how can you go wrong? The last track on the album, Fears and Phobias, is a clear reminder of what made us all love Mike Pinto in the first place. His skills as a storyteller are un-matched. He takes us on a trip with just his voice and his guitar and it’s a trip I’m happy to ride shotgun on.

Overall, the EP is a good solid mix of songs: some upbeat, a few love songs and one acoustic track at the end. It may only be six songs but on The West is Still Wild there is something for everyone. I can’t wait to see more from The Mike Pinto band and hopefully they’ll treat us with a full album sometime soon.

When The Pier caught up with Producer Lew Richards of 17th Street Studios, here’s what he told The Pier of the new Mike Pinto EP, “Mike Pinto Band is one of the tightest bands i’ve got to work with this year. My personal favorite was probably “Feet Dont Fail Me Now” & “Turn You On”. Mike sings with a lot of confidence, the bass and drums were solid and I think we captured some real magic on this EP. I cant wait to do a full length album with the Mike Pinto Band.”

Written & Reviewed by: Ashley Allred

[Editors Note: All reviews are reflective of the album in it’s entirety, from start to finish. These reviews are the honest opinion of each writer/reviewer, expressing their feedback as a genuine fan of the music. Each star rating reflects their review of the album, not the band. Music is subjective. Regardless of the review or star rating, we encourage you to listen to the music yourself & form your own opinion. Spread the awareness of all music in its art & contribution]