The Middle East
The Recordings of the Middle East


4.5
superb

Review

by doug USER (78 Reviews)
February 17th, 2010 | 41 replies | 5,656 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The Middle East shower you with folk tinged post rock, in an album that will lighten anyones spirits.

4 of 4 thought this review was well written

There is a quote from the 1994 classic film, ‘Shawshank Redemption’ that enlightens ones aesthetic views of The Middle East. It may not be describing this album per se but when listening to The Recordings of the Middle East, the same feelings resonate through you: “ ... I tell you, those voices soared higher and farther than anybody in a grey place dares to dream. It was as if some beautiful bird had flapped into our drab little cage and made these walls dissolve away, and for the briefest of moments, every last man in Shawshank felt free.” The Middle East are what some may call folk, though this really doesn't do their music styling’s justice, as they mix the whimsical sounds of Bon Iver to the dark yet haunting sounds of Mono to create an album of awe inspiring beauty that really does bring the listener to a standstill or better yet, make them speechless.

The albums folk roots are shown through opening number ‘The Darkest Side’. The vocals sounding almost distant, but swoon all over the gently finger picked guitar, while the harmonies throughout the chorus have a whispery touch, giving you shivers. The other up most folk tune is ‘Blood.’ The lead single of the album, ‘Blood’ has gained quite a following, as it placed inside the Triple J hottest 100 (the largest music poll in the world) and it has earned that following for very good reasons. Probably the liveliest of songs on the album containing a small youth choir to sing the main melody, and a glockenspiel playing fantastic little flourishes, the musical introspect here is magnificent. Lyrically, discussing how people are born into different kind of bloodlines, it really is a moving song:

Older father, weary soul, you'll drive
Back to the home you made on the mountainside
With that ugly, terrible thing
Those papers for divorce
And a lonely ring”


What is most amazing about The Middle East is that this is their debut album, which is astonishing considering that The Recordings of the Middle East shows the maturity of song writing by a band that has been around for a very long time. Taking the longer songs with a post-rock feel for example, the vocal panning in ‘Pig Food’ is beautiful beyond belief, and the string accompaniment also shows the band's depth in writing. It is also quite obvious that the band found great inspiration from post-rock juggernauts Sigur Ros for the ending two tracks, ‘The Fall of Man’ and ‘Tsietsi’. Though The Middle East make the songs their own. An epic climax in ‘The Fall of Man’ once again proves the mature song writing from the band as the song follows a simple chord progression played on the piano, the climax is reached, and we are then left with just the resonating piano.

The Middle East, with their politically imbalanced band name, they lift you to soaring heights, and let you down gracefully and kindly. For such an unknown band their music shouts for attention, as The Middle East show they can mix it with the best of them and as Morgan Freeman said, “...those voices soared higher and farther than anybody in a grey place dares to dream. It was as if some beautiful bird had flapped into our drab little cage and made these walls dissolve away...” The Middle East will make you feel like you are living in a happier place.



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user ratings (108)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
xNintendoCorex (4)
A highly pleasant mix of folk indie and all things nice....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Douglas
February 17th 2010



9058 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSKrrMb9bnE

That's the video clip for 'Blood', I highly recommend you check it out, its amazing.


Probably a crap load of grammatical errors, please point them out if any.

Skimaskcheck
February 17th 2010



2360 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ahhh! Now it makes more sense -

“ ... I tell you, those voices soared higher and farther than anybody in a grey place dares to dream. It was as if some beautiful bird had flapped into our drab little cage and made these walls dissolve away, and for the briefest of moments, every last man in Shawshank felt free.”


Fantastic review man.

As for errors '...the vocal panning in ‘Pig Food’ is beautiful beyond believe', belief i think? And a consistency error where you didn't italicize the quote in the last paragraph, but that's all i can see.

Douglas
February 17th 2010



9058 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Oh cheers, thanks.

Yeah it took me a while to figure out why, but then it hit me haha.

Eclectic
February 17th 2010



3302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

though this really do their music styling’s justice

I think what you meant was: "though this really doesn't do their music styling’s justice"

the string accompaniment also shows the band depth in writing

the string accompaniment also shows the band's depth in writing

The Middle East, with its politically imbalance band name, their music can really lift you to soaring heats, and let you down gracefully and kindly.

This sentence kinda fails.
1. their not its
2. imbalanced
3. remove their music, its unnecessary.
4. remove really
5. heights not heats

Soz for being a grammar nazi, the rest of the review is great. Pos'd


Douglas
February 17th 2010



9058 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

No that's good I need it. Cheers.

Whoa, they were all really shit errors, damn I suck at proofing lol

AggravatedYeti
February 17th 2010



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

nice review
this album is pretty awesome, this band is def. one to watch out for big time.

Douglas
February 17th 2010



9058 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Thanks man, and yeah they definitely have big things ahead of them.

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
February 17th 2010



7021 Comments


album is devastatingly beautiful
my favorite is "The Darkest Side"

Digging: Shabazz Palaces - Lese Majesty

Douglas
February 17th 2010



9058 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I am in love with Pig Food at them moment.

Eclectic
February 17th 2010



3302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

my favorite is "The Darkest Side"

Same here

Son, if I died on my bedroom floor
Would you cry on your bedroom floor
And tattoo my name underneath your arm?


Douglas
February 17th 2010



9058 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Love
That was alive in the olden days
Been put to death in this golden age
By our colour TV

Eclectic
February 17th 2010



3302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

And its the darkest side
of my heart that dies
when you come to me

kitsch
February 17th 2010



5107 Comments


ok i get it the shawshank redemption is awesome and you want to splice it into a review but stop plz


Douglas
February 17th 2010



9058 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

kitsch more like pitsch

AggravatedYeti
February 17th 2010



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Blood is a personal favorite tbh

IRAI
February 17th 2010



1567 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Beleriand was the song that really got me into this album upon my first listens.

and now the first 4 songs are some of my favorite songs of the last month or two since getting this.

This rules on so many levels.

SpritzSpritz
February 17th 2010



525 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i love the hell out of "blood"
but the whole album rules.

tombits
February 18th 2010



3469 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Love this album so much. "The Darkest Side" was so beautiful when I saw them live.

liledman
February 18th 2010



3826 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

feels like this review has been a long time coming man, good job.

also that shawshank quote just reminded me of something else, has anybody seen coffee and cigarettes? the jim jarmusch film?

BenedictVII
February 18th 2010



369 Comments


I checked these guys out a few months ago and they were really good. I guess I got distracted with other stuff though, because I still don't have this album.



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