Midnight Spin - "Don't Let Me Sleep" Review - ROCKSPOSURE.....Be Heard

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Midnight Spin - "Don't Let Me Sleep" Review

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Had you only seen their videos, you’d think Midnight Spin would be churning out poppy, sugar coated songs to go along with the entertainment they consistently deliver on the big screen.  After all, who wouldn’t if you’d seen them running around dressed as cartoon characters from cereal boxes or inviting a lamp in for a romantic dinner?  Crank up their new full length debut “Don’t Let Me Sleep” though, and you’ll quickly find that while the energy is the same, the songs are deeper, darker, and much more frantic than you would’ve imagined.

“Don’t Let Me Sleep” is fast, gritty, tense, and has a dash of torment from everyday life added in for character.  The overall tone of the record almost seems to have an air of discontent, much more so than I expected it to going into the album. While that sounds like a combination that would be a bit of a downer, the resulting songs are actually wonderfully put together and packed with the signature energy you’d expect from Midnight Spin.  The band best describes the debut effort by pulling a lyric from “Perfect Floating Man” as an album that ’just can’t stop chasing the night’; it’s a perfectly fitting description to the theme and tone of the 12 song record.

When you look at the album from that perspective, it comes together like a soundtrack of a night dedicated to fighting the light of dawn.  Like any epic journey through the city streets at the witching hour, “Don’t Let Me Sleep” finds moments of speed and urgency followed by a few (much needed) breathers.  “Lion Run” opens the album at a full sprint almost under the guise that you’re not going to make it easy on the looming dawn that’s hunting you down.  You catch your breath a little thanks to the light ambiance from the scratchy guitar melodies that accompany Ben Water’s thick bassline on “Cochise Bliss” before hustling back up to top speed with “Neuroin”.  This cycle happens a few times on “Don’t Let Me Sleep”, one moment you're strolling along with a track like “Colors” at an easy pace then a minute later you’re soaring through the night with lead singer Mike Corbett’s vocals on “Phantoms” as drummer Danny Scull rattles off beats like a machine gun.  Knowing this album came from late hour sessions on the streets of the ‘Big Apple’, it’s a unique way to listen to the album as it almost puts you directly in the perspective it was born from.

The talent of Midnight Spin screams through with every note of “Don’t Let Me Sleep” and thanks to the efforts of producer Justin Gerrish (Vampire Weekend, The Strokes, Weezer) the album and final mix have a formidable presence.  Fast or slow, they seem to have this album dialed in on every level.  On the slower “Mission Beach” Jeremy Cohen’s keys complement the slow strum of Jim Terranova’s distortion filled guitar.  Those same tones support the worn down plea for escape from Corbett on “Colors” as he sings,“Just cause we paid the rent, doesn’t make the place a prison”.  Midnight Spin sounds equally at home when they rage through  faster fare like “Animal” , “Reagan Babies,” or “Perfect Floating Man” where Terranova lays down one of the dirtiest sounding guitar performances you’ll find on the East Coast.  You can feel his play building before he enters the blazing solo; it’s a phenomenal guitar track.

It doesn’t take much to figure out what the title track is going for, but it does give some insight into the mindset of singer Mike Corbett as he was putting the finishing touches on the album.  The track was recently featured as a free download on Rollingstone.com.  In his commentary about the song Corbett said:  “The song was sort of a prayer-like plea just hoping I could literally stay awake long enough to finish making the album.  I wrote the lyrics around 3 A.M. one night and recorded the vocals at the studio a few hours later."  What starts out with a looming tone explodes with an almost Springsteen powered energy when it hits the chorus. As Corbett begs “Don’t Let Me Sleep, Prop me up one more time”, Midnight Spin feels like they are cranking out the last few delirious bursts of energy that are left in the tank. On an album of standout songs, this one somehow feels a touch above the rest.   

Am I giving “Don’t Let Me Sleep” more credence as a concept album of late night adventure than what Midnight Spin intended? Sure that’s entirely possible, but even without that perspective the album is incredible.  One thing is certain though, the next time I have to hit the streets for a night of questionable decisions and unplanned excitement, I know what will be playing in my head for a soundtrack as I make my getaway.

As the Webmaster and Founder of Rocksposure.com, Chris Brach is always looking for new music from up and coming rock bands.  You never know, they could be our next Artist of the Month!  If there is something you think he should give a listen to, email him at GetRocked@Rocksposure.com.

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