5 Songs, 26 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

In a time when emulating the inspiring, soul-wrenching sounds of Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes is enticing to many a guileless indie band, finding Australia’s the Middle East is especially satisfying. “Blood,” the five-and-a-half-minute centerpiece of this oversized EP, is well worth the cost of admission alone, a song that packs an exhilarating, emotional charge straight out of the Iver/Foxes textbook of Indie Pop (a mention of Arcade Fire or Nick Drake wouldn’t be out of place here, either). The Middle East make music crafted with a carefully orchestrated dark/light, yin/yang balancing act; their hushed folk-pop is both breathtakingly delicate and electrifying. Most tracks, but especially “Blood,” start as a tip-toe, with gentle acoustic guitars, soft percussion, and Jordan Ireland’s vocal sighs and whispers eventually stirred to a full charge; radiant gales of guitar, swells of piano and trumpet, and layers of hymnal choruses raise goose bumps. Lyrics like, “It’s the darkest side of my heart that dies when you come to me” are both heartbreaking and triumphant in their resolution, and they tell vivid, eloquently detailed stories. A beautiful debut from a band to watch.

EDITORS’ NOTES

In a time when emulating the inspiring, soul-wrenching sounds of Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes is enticing to many a guileless indie band, finding Australia’s the Middle East is especially satisfying. “Blood,” the five-and-a-half-minute centerpiece of this oversized EP, is well worth the cost of admission alone, a song that packs an exhilarating, emotional charge straight out of the Iver/Foxes textbook of Indie Pop (a mention of Arcade Fire or Nick Drake wouldn’t be out of place here, either). The Middle East make music crafted with a carefully orchestrated dark/light, yin/yang balancing act; their hushed folk-pop is both breathtakingly delicate and electrifying. Most tracks, but especially “Blood,” start as a tip-toe, with gentle acoustic guitars, soft percussion, and Jordan Ireland’s vocal sighs and whispers eventually stirred to a full charge; radiant gales of guitar, swells of piano and trumpet, and layers of hymnal choruses raise goose bumps. Lyrics like, “It’s the darkest side of my heart that dies when you come to me” are both heartbreaking and triumphant in their resolution, and they tell vivid, eloquently detailed stories. A beautiful debut from a band to watch.

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