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Forget What You Know

Midtown

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Album Review

Midtown has jettisoned its last stores of punk-pop silly string for Forget What You Know, its ambitious major-label debut, coming up with a leaner, more moody sound. Working with producer Butch Walker (Marvelous 3), the foursome finds new life in the shadows of punk revivalism and vague modern rock cynicism, forgoing sugar-high hooks in favor of less direct yet still succinct songcraft. Jeez, Gabriel Saporta's husky croon even sounds like Jakob Dylan sometimes. That doesn't mean Forget What You Know is aiming for adult alternative. No, it dwells in wiry guitars, weary singing, purposeful instrumental shifts, and routs of textured aggression. It's the sound of wanting very badly to grow up. "Is It Me? Is It True?" begins with a ping-ponging verse, but soon shifts into toy piano breaks and feel-good lyrics like "Sex is old/Old and boring." The album's morose interludes — "Armageddon," "God Is Dead" — are also telling, as they reflect directly off the cloud of gloomy cynicism hovering over Midtown. (That the proceedings end with nearly ten minutes of the looped phrases "You've had all the time in the world" and "You don't listen" is equally blatant.) This doomsayer's obsession with apathy — "I can't believe anything/Every year it's the same," from "Manhattan" — becomes kind of awkward, as it seems like too much anger too quickly for Midtown. Luckily, the band finds some time to just rock the pain away. "To Our Savior" aims for ragged, Division of Laura Lee-style post-punk; "Nothing Is Ever What It Seems" broods, but in a rueful way; "Empty Like the Ocean" kicks up some throbbing yellow dust of its own. Forget What You Know isn't a sun-and-sand summertime record, but it's perfect for kids making the transition from goofy preteen pop-punk to bands like the Alkaline Trio, where the dark things aren't hidden behind a massive backline.

Biography

Formed: 1998 in New Brunswick, NJ

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Formed in November 1998 by three Rutgers students, Midtown soon became an energetic quartet comprised of Gabe Saporta (vocals/bass), Rob Hitt (drums), Tyler Rann (guitar/vocals), and Heath Saraceno (guitar/vocals). Taking advantage of the fertile New Jersey punk scene to develop a unique sound that combined elements of emo and hardcore, Midtown began recording shortly after their formation. Their debut EP, Sacrifice of Life, was issued by Pinball Records in 1999. Their first full-length, Save the...
Full Bio
Forget What You Know, Midtown
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