If you’ve ever listened to the young Chapel Hill kind-of-like bluegrass band Mipso you know that there’s more going on there than mere picking and strumming. Their pleasant debut LP, last year’s Dark Holler Pop, pointed to the group’s melodic inclinations in its title and confirmed them during most of its breezy, affable music. They’ve now taken the next logical step and covered a radio smash, Drake’s c’mon-girl hit “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” in a video presented (and sponsored by?) by their apparent landlords, Chapel Hill’s Mills Rentals. But the logical step isn’t always the best one, is it?
The Drake original wades through its share of melancholy and yearning, of course, but Mipso’s rendition is dreadfully po-faced. Mandolin player and singer Jacob Sharp seems to want to crack a smile at a few points (around the 45 second mark, for instance), but it honestly looks as much like a grimace as a grin. When it’s over, bassist Wood Robinson looks up at the rest of the group and beams, as though he gets that these sort of wanna-be-viral gimmicks must be fun. But no one responds in kind, as though he’s somehow let out the secret that, like, this tune charted in more than a dozen countries last year. And the arrangement is so earnest and sincere that, should you happen to be the paramour in question, you’d likely want to run the other way.
Don’t be afraid to smile, Mipso. Remember, if this thing exploded on the Internet, maybe you’d even get a year of free rent.