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This review is from: Midnight Movies (Audio CD)
I apologize in advance for the horrible joke I'm about to make: Definitely watch the "Midnight Movies," because this Los Angeles band has unique talent. Okay, horrible joke over -- but the self-titled debut brims over with moody, gritty psychedelic rock and throaty Nico-esque vocals.
Their sound is established in "Persimmon Tree," with a shadowy, swirling growl of bass and guitar; that mix of garage rock grit and psychedelic woo-woos is carried over into songs like the funereal rocker "Oh Twilight" and eerie "Strange Design," which explodes into sputtering bass chaos at the finale. Even quiet songs explode sooner or later.
Only two songs are really pop -- "Words for a Love Song" and "Tide and Sun," both as light and crystalline as a snowflake. And the garage rock sound runs like an underground river through all of "Midnight Movies." Some songs like "Human Mind" are almost pure rock, with only a few sonic flourishes. Even as garage rock goes, these are solid songs.
Garage rock is usually pretty gritty. But Midnight Movies don't let what every other band does determine what they do. Their grinding sound is tinged with art-rock, laced with electronica. In a nutshell, it's immensely original without being unfamiliar.
Musically it's almost impossible to get bored by "Midnight Movies." The band can switch gears smoothly -- one minute it's swirling psychedelic pop, then the hard-rockin' guitars, strong drums and bass kick in. And to add to the murky atmosphere, there are stretches of electronic psychedelica that soften and expand the garage-rock sound.
Gena Olivier has a great voice for this music -- it's as dark, murky and magnificent as their music. She also has a vocal resemblance to Velvet Underground chanteuse Nico, although a little more flexible and not as deep. And she can bring all the songs to life -- even "Words for a Love Song," which goes: "Captured/consumed/cherish/flirt." Sounds positively ominous when Olivier sings it.
Keep an eye on the "Midnight Movies." This moody, dark indie-rock is mesmerizingly original, and definitely one of the better albums of 2004.