From Shipwrecks Beach, Byron Bay, Mt Warning stands tall amidst the Northern New South Wales hinterland. Its mythical like appearance and stunning natural surrounds serve as an ideal location to pen a novel or write a song, which is exactly what Mt Warning (stage name for musician Mikey Bee) has done.
Bee is a talented fellow, taking on each role of the band himself. Used to solitude and writing musings on his own, the songwriter grew up in Shepparton, but he took flight in search of music to the big city but found he felt more at home in a quieter, tranquil setting. He took up base in Byron Bay and tours internationally, perusing his lifelong dream of making a living from music.
Since beginning his solo venture in 2014, Mt Warning has gained popularity amongst local and overseas audiences. Well known for his heartfelt storytelling and truthful lyrics, Bee’s latest EP ‘Petrified Heart’ adds to his growing repertoire and blossoming reputation as an Australian one-man band. Petrified Heart, as described by Bee himself, is an expression of the battles of love and loss in life. “It’s a confession and an apology, an affirmation and a commitment to love, a catharsis in the truest sense,” he says.
The EP follows a similar theme of reflective, alternative rock music. The first track When It All Bleeds Out is one of Bee’s best. A combination of echoing vocals, acoustic guitar and clapping, the upbeat melody feels as if it ought to be the theme song to those clichéd Australian summer road trips following the coast.
Black Moon continues the quintessential Australian Surf Coast song with Bee’s high-pitched vocals following the instrumental beating of the drum and symbol backing the track throughout. I Want You To Be My Girl This Century is clearly written for a long lost love, representing every 20-something’s inevitable relationship struggles at some point or another. Bee’s harmonious voice and unique installation of the tambourine, flute and base guitar works to differentiate the track from the rest of the album. It’s catchy, smart and identifiable to his audience.
Bee’s longest song Collapsed Collage is a striking, abrupt change to the rest of the album. It gradually builds up pace, reflecting Bee’s choice of emotive lyrics. The layered resonant vocals are refreshing and unlike your typical soulful indie tune.
Halfway through the melody, Bee surprises everyone with his dramatic, thunderous key change. If this were a Eurovision drinking game, you’d scull the bottle. However, Bee seems to makes it work. It uplifts listeners, provides fodder for critics to rave about and is certain to be a popular choice at the next big music festival.
Petrified Heart concludes with a pensive, slower paced track by the same name as the album. Sounding similar to UK folk group Daughter, Bee’s mellow tone concludes the mixture of ethereal and powerful musings. The piano accompaniment enables and encourages listeners to wonder, stop, take time out of busy, fast paced lives and watch the sunset every once in a while.
Overall, Mt Warning has it together. The album represents the support and faith we should all have for Australian musicians. Clearly, Mikey Bee’s ability to be a man-of-all-trades has not diminished. If anything, his composition of honest, natural, charming new indie music has improved since last year’s Midnight Set.
While only consisting of 5 tracks, Petrified Heart is a short glimpse into the soulful tunes yet to come from Bee’s Byron Bay hideaway.