It’s impossible to separate the six-year run of Portland’s Heatmiser from the solo career of one of its singers, the late Elliott Smith.
Smith’s legacy is his effortless voice and gentle folk compositions, a style that is scarce here with a four-piece indie rock band.
In truth, “Mic City Sons” is reminiscent of Smith’s later career output, when he plugged in and packed sonic meat onto the bare-bones frames of his “Either/Or” and “Roman Candle” style.
It’s the Smith songs that shine brightest and there are a few hidden gems, including “Get Lucky” and “See You Later.”
Elsewhere, the album drags. Many of the Neil Gust songs, except for “Eagle Eye,” don’t land with the same mixture of unaffected vocals and breezy folk, sounding flat next to Smith’s efforts.
It’s only a necessary inclusion in record collections for Smith diehards.
Our Music Year is Daily Republic popular culture writer Nick DeCicco’s yearlong online review in 2012 of albums he had previously not listened to. The reviews will appear in print on their corresponding days during 2013. Reach him at 427-6966 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ndeciccodr.