Call me old fashioned but I love lyrics as much as I love melody and one gripe I have with ‘I Want That You Are Always Happy’ by The Middle East is that I can hardly make out a single word. I’m ashamed that I’m echoing a former elocution teacher when I say “diction people!” Nonetheless I don’t feel it’s an unnecessary criticism. That being said this album is a pleasant if melancholy listen, which is hardly surprising considering the opening track is titled ‘Black Death 1349’.
Once defined as music released on labels independent from the major commercial record labels “indie music” now has a distinct sound of its own and The Middle East have certainly fallen into that niche with a touch of folk, courtesy of banjo and harmonica dotted throughout. It would, however, be a nice change for an indie band to be a little less despondent and a little more upbeat. In this regard ‘I Want That You Are Always Happy’ feels like it’s almost back to front. Unusually the listener almost has to trawl through the first 2 tracks to get to ‘As I Go To See Janey’, through the lovely instrumental piano that is ‘Sydney to Newcastle’ and the folky to the point of western ‘Mount Morgan’. ‘Very Many’ and ‘Months’ stand out as favourite tracks and there is no denying that this is a grower of an album. I see rather a lot of The Middle East in my future even if I’m not 100% sure about what they’re singing about.
The Middle East – As I Go To See Janey