Over the years I’d heard splutterings of enthusiasm surrounding a band from Townsville called The Middle East. They didn’t get down to Sydney much – probably due to their location of residence – but a few of their tunes fell into my hands a couple of times and seemed nice enough. They were on my “bands to watch” list, but then promptly disappeared off my radar.
Now they’ve suddenly appeared back on the scene with a deal with Spunk Records, and boasting a shift in sound that has moved from plundering influence from the usual pillars of indie rock to introducing a greater influence from the broad pool of folk. They’ve recently supported Bill Callahan (Smog) and apparently are recording an EP that should be released mid-year.
I was given their latest track “Blood” which features a lovely picked guitar, a very nicely penned melody and crooned vocals. It’s a slow burner, gradually building before introducing a melody that leads to an explosion of glockenspiels, a chorus of vocals and trumpets. Y’know, the kind of thing that Arcade Fire made cool. Actually the whole thing is kind of what Sydney live favourites Cuthbert & the Nightwalkers might sound like in a more sober and reflective mode.
Have a listen:
- Blood (AAC format)
The Middle East are playing two shows in Sydney next month:
- The Hopetoun on the 20th of February with Leader Cheetah, Megastick Fanfare and Maple Trail
- Brass Monkey in Cronulla on the 21st of February with Leader Cheetah and Jack Ladder (solo)