Midwife (USA)
Luminol


4.2
excellent

Review

by Dewinged STAFF
July 20th, 2021 | 93 replies


Release Date: 07/16/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Heaven is not so far away.

In murder solving cases, Luminol is a chemical substance used by forensics to highlight traces of blood in the crime scene. In this particular case, the victim is not a living being, but that ill-fated year of 2020, and we all know who or actually, what, is the perpetrator...

It feels like it’s almost impossible to elude the many ways that 2020 reminded us we have opened the Pandora box. We’ve been contemplating its ever growing void as it swallowed all our plans, our hopes, our vital energy and for some of us, even our dear ones for what it feels, just a year and a half after, like a cruelly permanent state of mind. Madeline Johnston’s mother's timeless look in the cover of Midwife’s latest release reflects this very same figure frozen in time we have all become. Her fragile shadowed image next to a cliff was captured at the time she was the same age as Madeline when she recorded this album. The idea that we all have been stuck in place like statues made of flesh and air for over a year is the trace of blood that runs deep through Midwife’s latest release, a trail of spirit-draining thoughts and raging impotence that has marked our existence for a very long time now.

2020 saw the release of Forever, Midwife’s sophomore full length and an album tribute to a lost friend that I had the honor to review, and that also was my introduction to the work of the artist from Denver. Her tour plans for the album, unsurprisingly, went to hell as the pandemic showed no sign of subsiding, so Madeline had no option but to adjust and reconsider recording once again. In fact, this album probably would have never existed if it wasn't for 2020.

Midwife's latest release for The Flenser, expands on the sound she has been sculpting from her debut to the point of creating something that is unmistakably hers. You’ll read comparisons with Grouper here and there, but I can assure you this operates on another level. This is clear from the moment that the first piano notes of opener "God is a Cop" gently drop followed by Johnston’s hazy vocals laying down the first verses. There is something I always liked about Midwife, and that is the way she is able to touch the very fabric of your soul with only a few words, usually sang like a dreaming mantra, and always accompanied with the right melody. It’s a constant that repeats itself throughout this album too, especially in tracks like “Promise Ring”, where she proclaims Love will break your heart forever as the song builds up and unleashes itself with added drums and ecstatic shoegaze riffing.

“Enemy” follows the opening track with a greater army of distorted guitars and celestial vocal harmonies singing to themes of self-harm and resignation towards the fact that our body is our worst enemy. Surely, a side effect of quarantine that becomes universal through Madeline’s personal experience when it transcends to the other side of the speakers through its skeletal body of sound. On a lighter note, I don’t know if 2020 will also be remembered as that year when Madeline jammed "Gone Away" by The Offspring an unhealthy amount of times, but somehow its chorus has made its way to the very core of Luminol in a way that makes me wish she would cover my whole music collection, filtered through her particular craft, and elevating it to the very heights of her very aptly self-labelled “Heaven Metal”.

Midwife’s latest release also features a good number of collaborators, with members of DIIV and Dan Barrett from Have A Nice Life credited among them, something that has enriched her music even more, as the second half of the album shows with superb cuts like “Colorado”, where pulsating guitar drones breathe faintly while Madeline’s voice battles the static to reach you as if it was an aural mirage, or the voice of a ghost from times past. “Christina’s World”, on the other hand, orchestrates the work of American pastoral painter Andrew Wyeth, guided by the wishful reprise of ”Show me the way” as the album fades out of existence.

The case for 2020 may never be solved, as its woes and fears still bleed into the current year like lava down a mountain, but if Luminol fails to provide the answers you seek, at least it will guide you to a state of mind where those answers won’t matter anymore, and in such circumstances, this is all that we could wish for.




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user ratings (52)
3.5
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
July 20th 2021


24961 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

After 987565758 drafts, I feel like I could have done better but I didn't want to extend it anymore.



Please jam her music cause it's all you need right now.



https://midwifemusic.com/album/luminol

Digging: King Woman - Celestial Blues

Slex
July 20th 2021


11858 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

AOTY

Digging: Isaiah Rashad - The House Is Burning

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
July 20th 2021


24961 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

MY MAN

Sunnyvale
Contributing Reviewer
July 20th 2021


2587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

heaven m/



Sweet review, have never quite fallen in love with Midwife's previous work but will give this a go

Sowing
Moderator
July 20th 2021


38518 Comments


A Dewi 4+ and a Slex 5 means this has just become a must-hear for me, although it originally was only on the fringes of my radar. Lovely review; between this and Year of No Light you've become really good at hooking me in with your intro paragraphs.

Digging: Needtobreathe - Into The Mystery

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
July 20th 2021


24961 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

Cheers Sowing, nothing beats a good ol' police thriller intro, although it is taken straight out of her Bandcamp info... well, based on ;)



And thanks Sunny, this is very similar to her previous recordings, it's just her thing, I do love her mix of noisy shoegaze and ambient experimental pop but I know it's not for everybody. Hope you enjoy it though!

SitarHero
July 20th 2021


13328 Comments


Good review Dewi. I had to read it just to find out what Warranted that summary.

Josh D.
July 20th 2021


16647 Comments


I think I have heard some of their tunes and thought they were fine. I'll give this a go then.

loveisamixtape
July 20th 2021


10606 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i luv like author like daughter so will def check this

Josh D.
July 20th 2021


16647 Comments


Gotta say, I started laughing out loud when I realized the lyrics in "2020".

kevbogz
July 20th 2021


3192 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

another brilliant review from a brilliant writer, no surprise here. your intro paragraphs are some of the best I've seen on this site.



my only complaint about the album is that, while there are a lot of nice additions i.e. the full drum kit on Promise Ring, a nice repertoire of guest musicians (Vyva Melinkolya on 2020 was dope + the fact that she even covered that LOL), the lyrical repetition of the same lines for entire songs does get a lil dry imo, esp in comparison to Like Author, Like Daughter

Digging: Midwife (USA) - Luminol

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
July 20th 2021


3196 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hell yes this is the wonderful rev this album deserves. p sure this is her best album so far

kevbogz
July 20th 2021


3192 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

jespiboy ily but don't bring that horrible energy here

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
July 20th 2021


3196 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

haha i'm sowwy kev, they're all 4s tho so it's rly close

kevbogz
July 20th 2021


3192 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ur not wrong. LALD and Prayer Hands are just ace imo

theBoneyKing
July 21st 2021


20709 Comments


Been meaning to check her out for a while, love me some slow-gaze. Maybe I’ll jump in here…

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
July 21st 2021


24961 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

Her discography is short n sweet, check it all Boney.



And thanks lads, happy to have a thread for this.

zaruyache
July 21st 2021


24318 Comments


it is good yes, don't remember how good but good

BallsToTheWall
July 21st 2021


50436 Comments


Need to hear this.

Digging: Sematary - Rainbow Bridge

hel9000
Contributing Reviewer
July 21st 2021


1246 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

very good on first listen. loved the last two songs



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