Review Summary: I wish Jesus came to my birthday party.I Want That You Are Always Happy
is quite a resounding title for an album, and one that The Middle East are characterized to try and achieve with their latest offerings. After making their mark on the Australian indie scene with the debut release, The Recordings of The Middle East
, the pressure was quite high for the band to produce something equally as good - let alone better with I Want That You Are Always Happy
. Yet, the band have done a complete 360 to anything that made Recordings...
so good. By getting rid of the quaint and quirky sounds that were heard on “Blood” or “The Darkest Side” and introducing much darker tones, piano lead riffs and more simple placed folk, no longer are the intricate melodies found, which previously carried The Middle East.
The dark and quite haunting tunes that open the album, resemble quite the opposite to what the album title suggests, as “Black Death 1349” opens with the wailing of lead vocalist Jordan Ireland, which sets quite a sombre tone for the rest to come. This theme is also established via the gorgeously simple “My Grandmother Was A Pearl” intertwining basic piano chord progressions with the subtlety of Irelands husky low range. Things change pace with first single, “Jesus Came to My Birthday Party” as we are uplifted with the harmony of Ireland and Tranter. Pleasantly the merrier tunes continue to flow from this point as “Land of the Bloody Unknown” is a bouncy, jaunty tune that garners a high rotation with its sing-a-long factor being uncontrollable.
Many highlights are strung throughout the album, yet the staunch consistency is what piecesI Want That You Are Always Happy
together and gives it such distinct longevity. No track comes across as weak, as the flow is impeccable yet, contradicting this, “Deep Water” is the definite standout of the album. The ten minute epic whirls through hauntingly beautiful melodies, combining slide guitar, piano and banjo underneath Ireland’s glorious vocals.
Lyrically the album delves into strong connotations about Jesus and the mysteries of religion, yet is quite hard to follow the bands actual view on the topic, and sometimes are borderline on strange:
“That was a long time ago
And I haven’t seen him in a while
Now I’m down in the city
And I think I seen him in the eyes
Of the strangers that pass
In the eyes of the poor
Jesus came to my birthday party
When I was seventeen
It was a long time ago”
I Want That You Are Always Happy
isn’t what anyone was expecting from The Middle East, and that is was makes it so good. A indulge of much simpler folk, and straight forward melodies show that the band is full of flexibility and aren’t afraid to show that they are not just a one trick pony and is not just trying to put out “Blood version 2”. The sound is barebones, but don’t let that put you off as that’s what draws you in to the awkward, yet familiar offerings that I Want That You Are Always Happy