Island of Misfit Toys, Annabel, Nnamdi’s Sooper-Dooper Secret Side Project, Laverne 18+ Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Fri., Dec. 18, 8 p.m. 2015

Last month, when Michigan emo linchpins Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate) visited Beat Kitchen, they handed off their vocal duties to a foursome of guests. I walked in to find magnetic Island of Misfit Toys singer Anthony Sanders with mike in hand, bobbing and gesticulating with so much force it looked like each song was taking hold of his body. Sanders channels the same earnest intensity on the band’s recent second album, I Made You Something (Broken World Media). The quasi-symphonic squad propel through delicate, hushed melodies and blustery punk crescendos with a theatrical fervor, which makes the overwrought passages go down easier and the ambitious leaps more charming than not. The fits of rapping on “A Healthier Olympics” exude enough heart to make the experiment feel necessary, and the occasional awkward bump in flow fits the band’s scrappiness. Like their contemporaries, Island of Misfit Toys stir huge moments that effectively coax listeners to follow them during their upward trajectory. When Sanders hollers, whispers, and spills his guts on “Burble,” I find myself wanting to reach out and help him sort through his feelings, even if that just means singing along.

Leor Galil

Price: $12, $10 in advance

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