Although centred in a classic blue-eyed soul and pop sound, Stronger is a record of surprising dynamics that references past heroes such as Paul Carrack, Mick Hucknall and even Hall and Oates rather than any of the current crop of pop chancers who have appropriated that title. It is also a gentle reminder that if you look beyond the likes of the awful Sam Smith and his overly earnest, emotionally bankrupt yet commercially lucrative pantomime, the real work, the artistic work, the work with actually longevity is being done by people like Mi’das.
Wish Road is a solid way to kick off the ep, but Vienna is the song that really taps into a rhythm and blues heart and dances between driving rock grooves and soulful interludes. It’s anthemic, big and clever and sounds like the perfect encore at a festival with the sun going down behind the stage and the party in its fullest swing. This could be the soundtrack to your summer. Between the big hitters, the real brilliance of the artist is found. Too Little Too Late is piano ballad that builds into a fully orchestrated opus and Like You Did Then is a heart-wrenching ballad built on atmospheres and emotion.
But saving the best till last a revisit to Wish Road finds a mix of gospel, world music harmonies, half heard blues riffs and dream-pop experimentation and blends them into a slow burning, slow building progressive soul epic. Every now and then you need someone to come along and over turn the musical apple cart. Marvin Gaye famously did it with What’s Going On? Maybe it’s time to do it again and I think we may have found the man for the job.