At eight-minutes soaking wet, Midnight Stubble’s three-song self-titled EP Midnight Stubble is a sinewy sample size of what the Belgian trio has to offer to the aggressive blues landscape. But despite their limited portfolio and DIY approach to crafting music, Bertand Baijot, Fabian Borghese, and JY Sottiaux appear to be a much needed breath of fresh air in an increasingly stale genre.
Midnight Stubble’s musical roots are sunk in blues—acts like Howlin’ Wolf, Elmore James are immediately identifiable, and there is also a strong Doors influence permeating throughout. Borghese’s scratchy baritone vocal style has shades of Morrison, and the whole groove-centric emphasis from the rhythm section reminisces of Strange Days era instrumentation. This is no more evident than on the third track “Teddy Buffalo,” which sees the band at its most cathartic in the chorus, but also expertly restrained in the verse sections.
It’s this example of tempo dynamics that the group needs to build on moving forward. Call it progressive; call it experimental. It’s what the blues/hard rock genre desperately needs. The trio clearly has a creative side evidenced by the Clint Eastwood The Good, the Bad and the Ugly voice clip in the first song “The Grapes of Wrath (Loaded guns Vs Tom Joad).
Though it is a bit campy, it shows the band is at least thinking outside of the box. They are still light years away from what Closure in Moscow did last year— effectively shape-shifting blues with songs like “That Brahmatron Song” and “Dinosaur Boss Battle”— but they have the arrow pointed in the right direction, which for now, is more promising than what most start-ups can claim.
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