Meet Australia’s best kept secret; The Middle East.
The five-piece first released ‘The Recordings of The Middle East’ themselves back in 2008 and sold it via their website. No doubt mesmerised by the band’s irresistible magic, Spunk Records have now decided to reissue the five track delight next month; a decision likely to make ‘original’ fans produce a considerable pile of pretentious vomit at the thought of (gulp) the band becoming successful. But in reality, The Middle East are brimming with too much subtlety to hit the mainstream or duet with Timbaland and their music only reaching the ears of music snobs or industry players would be something of a criminal loss to music.
The EP itself is smothered by juxtaposing beauty and heartbreak, which are stripped back to their most addictive bare bones. From the delicate melodies and multi-layered vocals of ‘Fools Gold’ to the enthralling bleakness of ‘Lonely’, The Middle East lead you into their very own haunted fairytale as male vocals fuse with the tinkling of gentle chords.
Opening track Darkest Side perfectly embodies the balance of melancholism and spine tingling enchantment that the five-piece have down to a fine art, something further complimented by first single Blood, which sounds like the chilling progeny of Iron and Wine and Bon Iver.
Whilst on paper, the gentle tide that drapes across the band’s debut EP could risk more ennui than an ITV2 Katie Price marathon, the Anthony Hagarty (of Anthony and The Johnsons)–esque wavering of truly unique sounding vocals conjure the feeling that to peel your intoxicated lugholes away from the 5-tracks would be to miss out on something significant. An idea that is validated by the surprisingly up-tempo guitar led Beleriand, a track reminiscent of Manchester Orchestra in structure, and that leaves us chomping at the bit to hear what delightful cacophony the full length album will provide.
The Middle East is undoubtedly one of the most interesting bands to have slipped under the radar so far this year. With their gentle but inescapable hold on the listener something that seems even more effortless than their dark charm, their success is as inevitable as it is deserving.