Mig

Mig

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Review

Australian vocalist Mig Ayesa's solo piano take of Peter Frampton's '70s ├╝ber-ballad "Baby, I Love Your Way" was a welcome surprise on the 2004 CBS reality competition Rock Star: INXS. As the rest of the contestants oversang, writhed on-stage, and generally schlocked things up, Ayesa stripped back his approach and let his boyish charm and soft vocals make the most of Frampton's popular if somewhat unfairly critically maligned hit. The move helped propel him into the final three on the show, although he ultimately was not picked to be the new lead singer of the rock band INXS. Frankly, with his yearning, high-pitched voice more suitable for Coldplay-style alt-rock and Eric Carmen-esque AOR than straightforward rock and funk, Ayesa was never a good fit for the '80s Aussie icons. Which is why Ayesa's 2007 solo debut album, Mig, comes as a pleasant surprise. Playing as a better-produced version of the Mig viewers saw on Rock Star, the album finds Ayesa not only revisiting his now trademark "Baby, I Love Your Way" -- which features Frampton on guitar -- but also other superbly chosen cover tunes such as the Kinks' "Waterloo Sunset," the Police's "Wrapped Around Your Finger," and the Rolling Stones' "Angie." These are impeccably produced arrangements that frame Ayesa's pleasing vocals with tasteful orchestration and enough electric muscle to give the proceedings a bit a glam rock sheen. If his take on David Bowie's "Life on Mars" is a bit too close to the original, it only serves to point out how covers-heavy the album is. That said, the few Ayesa originals included here, such as the sweeping, bright pop anthem "She Loved" and the Raspberries-influenced power ballad "You and I," are as memorable and engaging as anything else on the album. In that sense, Mig reveals Ayesa -- pictured with his large mop of shiny black hair and action-figure outfits -- as a kind of contemporary anime lounge singer ready to do battle with giant rock opera robots and sweep his princess away in his piano starship. ~ Matt Collar, Rovi