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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Middle East - Present 14 songs lovingly honed to perfection, 6 Jun 2011
By 
Red on Black - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: I Want That You Are Always Happy (Audio CD)
What a nice surprise. "I want that you are always happy" is the second outing by The Middle East, an Australian six piece collective from Queensland that was recorded in Midlake's Denton Texas. Confused? Well we do live in a global village and what is fascinating about this group hailing from the other side of the Pacific is that they happily fit under the label marked "Americana" with "Ninth Avenue Reverie" one of the best songs Robin Pecknold never wrote.

But the Middle East are no mere copyists of any band and in large parts of this album they pare a little niche which is all theirs. To be sure before purchasing this album you may wish to check their previous LP "Recordings of the Middle East" and in particular the tracks "The darkest side" and the pop sensation that is the song "Blood" which has started to figure on a range of film soundtracks. You will also then understand that this album sees the band moving systematically into new pastures and "I want that you are always happy" is an album, which has real spiritual depth and dazzling songs. Check out the haunting "As I go I see Janey" with a melody forever destined to be tattooed on your brain. The gentle and sparse opener "Black death 1349' harks back to "After the Goldrush" preoccupations and repays repeated listens. So to does the solemnity of the ghostly piano ballad that follows it "My grandmother was Pearl Hall" which matches any of the shivering inducing atmospherics on the Low Anthem's recent "Smart flesh". More upbeat is the cracking folk song "Land of the bloody unknowns" which does have a slightly Australian feel amidst its broad stream of alt country, while in broad terms the most upbeat offering is ironically the adorable "Hunger Song" . The piano instrumental "Sydney to Newcastle" is a wistful as Debussy but accompanied by train announcements, while "Jesus came to my birthday party" sounds like the band have fruitfully studied the songs of the late great Elliot Smith and produce a bright slice on indie rock. With "Months" we have an intense highlight with a starting aura of Paul Simon but it develops into so much more and the impeccable lead vocal of Jordan Ireland is a model of its kind. The longest track here is 10 minute plus "Deep Water" and it's the sort of song that Ryan Adams once seemed to roll off a production line. It is flawless pedal steel ballad whose ten minutes pass all to quickly confirming in turn major songwriting talent.

Its difficult to capture how good this album is. In recent weeks watching some other big indie bands struggle to find form you are reminded that out there are new bands embarking on the journey that have had time to rehearse and mould a set of songs which they have lovingly honed to perfection. There are 14 songs here with a plethora of styles and which emit different forms of emotion. All however deserve to be savoured over 2011 and well beyond. "I want you to always be happy" is almost a misnomer for a title since this is largely reflective thinking music with no eye on mass commercial success but largely aimed at providing its rewards over time. Please try to locate this album it's a little unpolished gem by what could be your new favourite band.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this album... I want you to be happy too!, 7 July 2011
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This review is from: I Want That You Are Always Happy (Audio CD)
I love various genres of music from Queens of the Stone Age, Black Sabbath and Led Zepplin, all the way through to stuff like Laura Marling, Bon Iver and Mumford and Sons. All I can say about this album is: I adore it!

Saw it as a recommendation on Amazon and listened to a track on Youtube (highly recommended to listen before you buy) and I just melted instantly into a puddle of joy listening to such great music.

If you like The Shins (great band by the way) then The Middle East are best described as a more acoustic and darker version of them. They transgress boundaries like The Shins and defy any description I can write here on Amazon. The opening track is hauntingly beautiful, but the best track to look up on Youtube is "As I go to see Janey". Listen to that track and then buy the album. Not all the tracks are like that one, but it is an accessible track that will give you a good idea of the band's style and beauty. It is the best album I have brought for a long time!

Taste and preference for genres and bands is all well and good... but try something new like this and you won't regret it.
*edit*
Heard a rumour this band may have stopped being a band and making music! :-O
Fleeting moment of sheer brillance across an album. Buy it and enjoy, it might be their only album.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alternative Aussie Auters, 25 July 2012
By 
J. Gordon (Bournville, Birmingham United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: I Want That You Are Always Happy (Audio CD)
They may have holed Lieutenant Pigeon with The Birdy Song but how anyone could pigeonhole this offering from Middle East is beyond my tiny little birdbrain... Pure WONDERMENT. Certainly Eclectic in style and range - from the downright recent-Sufjan-Steven-verging-on-latterday-Scott-Walker WEIRD (in a 'good' way) to (relatively) mainstream upbeat Empire-of-the-Sun (an album for Summer - finally arrived!!! Yeah!!!!!) vibes. Production very high too. Had it some months now, keep returning and the only recent album to compare in Consistent Quality and Wow-ness (tho' totally genre-different) is Decemberist's King Is Dead. Middle East Rock (well, just a bit, most of the time they 'lilt' leftfield cool...)!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb - a real listening pleasure., 24 Aug 2011
By 
Mr. Stephen H. Lyall (Berkshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: I Want That You Are Always Happy (Audio CD)
I have not seen this album reviewed in the music press anywhere so am grateful to the reviewers here who have so eloquently and accurately promoted the merits of this wonderful record resulting in a much valued addition to my music collection. It is more by luck than judgement that I came across it during an impromptu browse of the amazon website but it is no exaggeration to say that it is now probably the best album I have bought this year - and I buy a lot of music (probably too much if my wife is to be believed!). Somehow there is a thread running through it which I find requires it to be heard as a whole from start to finish. Strange however as each individual track is so different and varied but takes you on a complete musical journey. It always holds my attention completely each play. The merits of some of the tracks have already been championed so I will not elaborate too much other than to say there is not a weak track here. It is an atmospheric recording of top quality song writing, differing vocal styles and fine musicianship. How sad then to discover that this is likely to be the last offering from this group of talented individuals. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome for a present, 3 Jun 2013
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This review is from: I Want That You Are Always Happy (Audio CD)
Hello Great product! I bought this as a present for someone who loved this band and they loved it! Yeah.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Epic, 4 Jun 2012
By 
P. Smith "Pablo" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: I Want That You Are Always Happy (Audio CD)
Many people don't listen to albums anymore. This cd has to be listened as a complete works, it is stunning from start to finish. Best played towards the end of the night 'I want That You Are Always Happy' often reaches into the darker parts of your listening mood. It is a beautiful and fragile record. One of the best albums of 2011.
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5.0 out of 5 stars gorgeous and surprising, 26 Oct 2011
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This review is from: I Want That You Are Always Happy (Audio CD)
One reviewer here has described this as The Shins but darker which is pretty accurate. It also put me in mind of Fleet Foxes but without their occasional preciousness. Whatever it is , it's an absolute joy to listen to, fresh startling and inventive. I've seen no professional reviews of it all and I only came across this band as Jesus Came to my Birthday Party was a track on a free CD distributed by Uncut magazine. Good on them. That song is the most straightforward indie-pop song on the album, lovely in its own right but gave no indication at all of the sheer loveliness and oddness of the rest. Black Death 1349 , Hunger Song and Ninth Avenue Reverie are stunning.

Would add that if any one likes this try The River Empires' Epilogue and The Gloomcatcher's Slow Chorale (2 bands who might possibly be the same band and who might possibly be a Christian band but don't let that put you off)
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I Want That You Are Always Happy
I Want That You Are Always Happy by The Middle East (Audio CD - 2011)
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