It’s hard to deny the appeal of the music that Handsome Midnight make. The music is immediate, catchy and fun in the same vein as bands like Weezer and Fountains of Wayne. Their recent release Animal is a well-produced, well-written album that is easy to embrace if you are looking for anthemic, unpretentious songs.
The four-piece band comprised of Steve (vocals, rhythm guitar), Jeff (vocals, lead guitar), Brent (bass) and Corey (drums) has enough tact to avoid a lot of typical clichés that pigeonhole them into one specific sub-genre. It’s not far-fetched to call their music pop-punk but you don’t get the typical nasally twang from the vocalist or a lot of the recurring themes associated with the genre.
Animal is a consistent album in terms of songwriting. The band has obviously put some time and thought into each song, which makes the twelve songs that much easier and enjoyable to get through. They kick off the album with “Near To You” which displays the strengths of the two lead vocalists. Jeff and Steve trade off measures during the verse and combine when the chorus hits. The song is quick getting in and out before the two-and-a-half-minute mark.
The band goes through a couple of more notable songs including the anthemic “Animal” and hard hitting “Falling Down.” As I mentioned previously the themes are unique with thought provoking lyrics to back it up. On “Been Around” the vocalist sings, “I meditate on another life As I balance on a hot steel knife But it burns me And I'm slippin.”
As the album progresses “Color Purple” and “Simple Thing (Say Whoa)” were highlights. They close with a cover of REM’s “It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” which managed to work well into the mix of their other songs. Animal isn't an album that is trying to reinvent the wheel but the band seems confident in the music they play and they do it well. It’s a solid follow up to their debut and points to a consummate band that might be around for a while.
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