How much do I love this? Oh boy. Oh boy.
Let me get that out of the way first. When I found out the title of this one, I actually whooped, because I’ve heard the song in my head since I first saw the current lineup the inestimable Steve Kimock has put together, a couple of years ago. And when I found out that “Waiting For A Miracle” was the second single to be released, the whoop! got a fistpump added to it, because it meant that the incredible Leslie Mendelson was going to be front and center.
Before I give free rein to my inner Mendelson fangirl, it should be pointed out that the band letting her not so much shine as blaze on Satellite City is pretty damned amazing. This is Steve Kimock we’re talking about, and with his longtime bassist Bobby Vega and his son John Morgan Kimock offering up a dream team of a rhythm section, Steve is his usual self: the man plays everything from spice to space, guitar that runs the gamut from subtle to talkative, jazz to jam band. It’s all there.
But my excitement here is for the songs, the verbal stories. Mendelson is a wonderful singer, and a damned good keyboard player. Above all, she’s a lyricist’s lyricist – these words are roads to drive on, rivers to sail on. The title track puts you in the shadow of skyscrapers, lights overhead you can’t identify and it doesn’t matter because they sparkle and they’re as much a part of the night and the sky as the woman dangling her feet over the edge of the rooftop. “Waiting For A Miracle”, first heard during Kimock’s last tour, has a monster presence when done live, a build at the end that brings the audience to its feet; the studio version takes a different road but the fact that it’s as compulsively listenable as the live version is due to the strength of those lyrics, that story. And “Careless Love” is a heartbreaker. There’s no way to overestimate how strong the song is, how powerful, how deep the wrench goes. It’s the same level of kick over the heart as Adele’s “Someone Like You”. Mendelson offers the real, the true, and what lies just under the skin, riding the wind and cloud offered by that amazing band, light as a feather.
Satellite City is a glorious collection of songs, both Kimock’s non-verbal journey and Mendelson’s vocal one. And I absolutely adore it.