Self release (label)
17 June 2022 (released)
20 June 2022
Mica Millar Powers through her debut album Heaven Knows.
Ahead of her first LP the Manchester based singer impressed with the energetic soul of ‘Preacher Man’.
The single‘s gospel sound kept the foot tapping, the warm confidence of the vocalist’s voice held the ear, while the lyrics focused on the universal theme of living life to the fullest.
In short, it was a strong Preview of both the artist and the project to come.
Across 14 tracks of, soul funk, gospel, and occasionally rock, Heaven Knows attempts to live up to that initial promise. For the most part it succeeds.
Mica Millar offers a strikingly rich performance throughout the record, while sumptuous production complements its artist excellently. Even in the album’s weaker moments the artist‘s flavourful vocal efforts are always a welcome focal point of a track.
Weather cranking her pipes up to the max on ‘Will I See you Again‘, crooning over her love on ‘Flashlights’ or playing the supportive friend on ‘Girl, Millar is a commanding assured presence throughout.
Previous single ‘Preacher Man‘ offered us a taste of energetic soul and gospel. The album continues to deliver in a similar fashion.
Opener ‘Girl’ is a breezy welcome about not getting stuck in the past and preparing for tomorrow instead. It has a similar outlook to the promotional single, and has a cosy energy to it.
‘Trouble’ also impresses during the top half.
The church organ hums away in the background, which is enough to create a sense of foreboding. Lyrics seem to warn of the perils of venturing into a relationship.
The musician advises:
“Go all the way down to brokenhearted Lane, and take a left at the crossroads or you might go insane.”
Gospel singers harmonise as they promise “brighter days“. The transcending light at the end of love’s labyrinth. The reward for the adventure.
Musically, the record gets the balance just right, until the final stretch.
From ‘Down River‘ onwards, songs mostly go with the slow or mellow approach.
Sombre voices, grey sounding piano, and tingling symbols, make the11th track a gloomy seven minutes. This would not be a problem in of its self, but the downtempo mood continues for the next few songs.
This leaves the remainder of the album feeling a tad draining. The set would’ve been better served by putting one of its more spirited numbers, like ‘Preacher Man‘ down the order. This would’ve helped to re-energise proceedings.
The backend is unfortunately where the set’s weaker moments can be found.
In an otherwise solid lyrical showing, the love ode ‘Will I See You Again’ not so poetically reveals:
“ Giving you all that I got, giving more than a lot ”.
While the artist‘s tone sounds sincere, she would’ve been better opting for cheeky self awareness, to get away with such an awkward line.
To make matters worse the ending note is a sour one.
Bookend ‘Give View My Prayer’ makes the last ditch effort to grab the bull by the horns with a rocking final number. The only problem is that a distorted mic effect makes it difficult to hear the lyrics of a passionate protagonist .