The Middlenight Men - 'Issue 1' Album Review
1. Rat Star
2. B.A. Baby
3. You (Getting Over)
4. Heroine Heights
5. Prison Of Love
7. We All Need Help Before Tomorrow
8. They’ll Be The Ones
9. Budapest Brawler
11. The Story Of The Three
12. Everybody’s Been Broken Hearted
Sometimes the hardest reviews to write for me are the ones where I positively love the album because there is the obvious danger of over hyping something, and the listener goes into it wanting to prove me wrong. This is the balancing act that I have to contend with on this review because I fell in love with the Middlenight Men the first time I saw the video for ‘Rat Star’ last year. The song immediately put a smile on my face and felt like a 4 minute capsule of musical salvation. Obviously, it is much easier to connect with one song than an album, but each release by the band has felt the same way which brings us to the debut album. I am reviewing the 10 song version as I wait for my CD to make it across the pond to Texas. Simply put, you NEED this album. Your soul will thank you. Your heart will thank you. This album is simply awesome.
Nick Hughes serves as the main man behind the Middlenight Men and has played in various bands that you likely already know such as Duncan Reid and the Big Heads, the Role Models, and the Yo-Yo’s amongst others. What he has created here reminds me of those bands with the added likes of the Wildhearts, Honeycrack, and others. My introduction to the band serves as the album opener with ‘Rat Star’ providing an adrenaline shot of energy and sunshine. The hook is huge, and the band does enough subtle variations to it that it never feels overdone. When this gets played live which will hopefully happen at some point again, this will get the crowd moving and singing along with fists in the air. Of the early songs released, it was ‘B.A. Baby’ that was my least favorite but is still a great song which just speaks to the quality of the material. This is another song laced with catchiness channeled from the same well as Ginger Wildheart and Foxy Shazam. Next up is ‘You (Getting Over)’ where the verse reminds me of the brilliance of Honeycrack in those vocal phrasings. The surge of energy packed into its three and a half minutes feels wonderful with the tempo changes in the chorus clearly showing us that rock is alive and well.
Turning gears a bit with the epic ‘Heroine Heights’ combining a bit of the ‘Batman’ theme with the super hero theme in the lyrics being moved along by a great guitar riff. The vocals on the album are really mixed perfectly as it maintains a bit of a live feel as they are not set above the music. The horns here serve the song extremely well, and I worry about you if you are not singing along with the ‘na na’s.’ It’s not a reach to say that this song could fit right at home on a Hey! Hello! Album. ‘Prison Of Love’ swaggers across the floor with a cool rhythm that grooves into a catchy chorus. It reminds me of early Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction with a touch of Alice Cooper in the additional vocals that appear. The peaceful electric guitar strums to start ‘ExtroIntro’ lead into Hughes’ great vocal take. Picture a crowd arm in arm with drinks held high to the sky here as the song slowly builds. The melody is killer and serves as a perfect change of pace in the album.
‘We All Need Help Before Tomorrow’ takes a quiet first verse and then comes to life with a killer beat. This is glossy Rock n Roll that should appeal to fans of Silver Sun or the other bands I have mentioned so far. The chorus here just gets bigger and bigger as it goes. Next up is ‘They’ll Be The Ones’ which comes to life like a Wildhearts rocker that is laced with some killer horns. What I love here is the vocal phrasing feels like the Ramones in the verses on top of a Wildhearts riff with the horns in some ways reminding me of Rocket from the Crypt. This is a classic song. At over 6 minutes, it serves as the epic on the vinyl version. ‘Budapest Brawler’ delivers a slice of great rock n roll with some great vocal harmonies and hooks.
Closing out the vinyl version is yet another great song in ‘Sleep’ which introduces some piano at the beginning as Hughes and the band provide us with a great slow rocker. First bonus track ‘The Story Of The Three’ reminds me of a more aggressive Meat Loaf with the male/ female dual lead vocals. The horns here provide some great depth to the music as well. Wrapping up the album is the classic ‘Everybody’s Been Broken Hearted’ which is another of my favorites among favorites here. This one reminds me a bit of the Silver Ginger 5 album in feel as it has a glorious over the top Pop feel on a Rock ballad. That guitar solo has me playing air guitar every time as well. For those that stick around, there is an additional treat after this one concludes.
Nick Hughes has created a monster of an album here that brings together his own musical touches amidst a wide mix of influences. This provides a kick of smiles and hopes for 2021 as the music will bring life to your heart and soul. I cannot recommend this one enough.
‘Issue 1’ is available now - https://themiddlenightmen.com/store
Website - https://themiddlenightmen.com/home
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/themiddlenightmen
Review - Gerald Stansbury