Review Summary: Never relying on anything except its own gorgeous self.
In a world where you no longer have to even know the location
of a record store in order to hear new music, it almost doesn't matter how good you are; upcoming artists have - in their wildest dreams - something approaching thirty seconds to make their mark. That's a pretty scary thought, and one which causes all manner of fuck-ups to adorn first tracks. Yeah, everyone feels like they have to do something ridiculous in order to stand out; if you're not the world's next Radiohead, why bother, right? Which is why it's refreshing once in every while to hear a band like The Midway State, who are pretty special without even trying to be.
Melodies and rhythms all over the damn place! I sometimes think we forgot about those things somewhere down the line; let's face it, if standing out in such a crowded field is difficult, finding those stand-outs has to take its toll to an extent. But the Canadian outfit's second record Paris or India
is nothing if not a refuge. It doesn't hide its poppy aesthetic or posture. Its driving synths and reverb-drowning guitars are knowingly anthemic. It's not afraid to go where you've anticipated it might, and it's always beautiful when you get there. It's usually epic, too.
Part of the reason The Midway State are able to fall back into these staples is the simple fact that they've nailed a sonic texture so smooth and gorgeous that it's impossible for them not
to sound fresh, which is no mean feat. While everyone has their tolerance limits for production values, Paris or India
finds the pristine middle ground between energetic and ethereal that much pop music tries cheaply to exploit, but few artists would capitalise on locating such a groove in the way that The Midway State do, melding toe-tapping beats to the most uplifting of choruses at every juncture.
Paris or India
is a record which never really attempts profundity, but it's light years from a shallow outing, and the depth that it does possess from moment to moment is amplified so beautiful by the way it works as a whole, never relenting, never relying on anything except its own vibrant and catchy heart to propel it. I would say that ninety-nine percent of people will know after the first four discernible notes of opener 'Alive' whether Paris or India
is for them, and the great thing about records as bold as this one is that the impression they leave tends to be lasting.