Mike O’Neill is simply one of Canada’s finest songwriters. What Happens Now? is the new album from the former Inbred and once again reveals the exquisite beauty found in Mike’s clever, engaging pop songs.
Together with a crackling pop supergroup and a hot producer, What Happens Now? reveals Mike O’Neill with his feet firmly planted in the pop music tradition of masters like Elvis Costello, Squeeze, The Only Ones and even a little Who. Just where we last left him.
Mike O’Neill has already given the industry shivers with his passion driven pop. As one half of the seminal band The Inbreds, O’Neill’s songs shocked an industry stuck in the backwash of grunge. The pop postcards of “Any Sense of Time” and “Amelia Earhart”, with only fuzzed-out bass and drums and no guitars? ‘Can’t be done,’ whined the pundits. Packed with delicious harmonies, infectious rhythms, both tracks immediately became college radio staples. The Inbreds grabbed fans as varied as Dave Grohl of Nirvana/Foo Fighters fame, The Maverick’s Rob Reynolds, Matthew Sweet, Evan Dando and Tragically Hip-ster Gord Downie.
With momentum quickly picking up, the minimalist D.I.Y. gemKombinator was described as “a lyric driven, pop infused, sneak-attack”. It was nominated for a Juno and inspired Atlantic Records’ imprint TAG Records to quickly sign them up. The label deal lead to worldwide publicity and an opportunity to tour Europe and the USA with the likes of Buffalo Tom and Teenage Fan Club. Kombinator was also included as one of the ‘Top Canadian Albums of All-Time’ [Chart] magazine poll.
Their second TAG album, It’s Sydney or the Bush, was recorded with British producer/engineer Lincoln Fong (Cocteau Twins, Lush)and garnered another Juno nomination for Best Alternative Album.Winning Hearts was the group’s final recording. It went straight to number one at college radio.
After six years, O’Neill, who wrote all of The Inbreds’ material, decided that he had taken the bass and drum pop format as far as he could and dissolved the duo.
What Happens Now? was recorded at Toronto’s Gas Station in December of 1999. Super popster Matt Murphy (Flashing Lights)plays guitars, Don Kerr (Rheostatics) is on percussion and Charles Austin (Superfriendz) on bass and Michael Phillip Wojewoda(Barenaked Ladies) handling production of the shimmering pop songs. Mike, always the ambitious multi-instrumentalist, explores piano, organ and guitar.
What happens Now? finds Mike writing perfect pop songs intended for a full band. It was the power and purity of Mike’s songwriting that made the Inbreds stand apart. Now, this collection of shimmering pop classics revisits and recreates the magic in the music of Mike O’Neill, proving that Mike’s songs are timeless.
Universal Music Canada, 2000