Formed in Edinburgh and now based in Manchester, Midas Fall focus on the more contemplative side of progressive rock, continuing where the Gathering and Anathema have gone recently, but veering off in their own direction. The key difference is singer Elizabeth Heaton, whose tender voice brings sensitivity to the music, often echoing the likes of Loreena McKennitt and Elizabeth Fraser.
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Evan Sawdey: I’ve been listening to Joe McBride’s (aka Synkro) album for some time now, and it truly is a “lay in bed with the lights off and your headphones on” kind of trip. There’s a lot of great mood, ambient texture, and walking-the-streets-at-night vibes going on, making it a pretty fascinating little item to drop in 2015. Unfortunately, “Shoreline” is definitely one of its lesser moments, a bit of flaccid post-Squarepusher beatmongering dressed up in ambient clothing. It’s dark and atmospheric but also drab and uninviting. There are numerous great tunes on the full-length, but “Shoreline”, sadly earmarked as a single, just ain’t one of ‘em. [4/10]
Evan Sawdey: Outside of the somewhat tired trope of a Letterman-Phoenix interview as a staging device for the music video, goddamn if they don’t perfectly capture that late ‘80s Britrock sound down to a T. It’s a sweet spot that gets me every time, although I leave the song not knowing much about their band or personality, instead wanting to go back and listen to similar records instead of Girls Names’ new one. Imitation can be great, but hopefully this is just a set up for something greater. [7/10]
It was only a matter of time, but the two most important progressive rock acts of the 2000s, Steven Wilson and Anathema, have started to yield other younger bands with a similar, broad-minded vision that takes the genre into exciting new territory in the 21st century. Chile’s Bauda are such a band, and as they show on their newest album Sporelights, they not only capture that soulful, melodic essence of those bands, but do so in a way that sounds wholly unique. Touches of avant-garde black metal are discernible on the new track “Vigil”—namely Enslaved and Ulver—as well as a very accessible side, too, making for a warm, very appealing sound.
Jordan Blum: Does anyone else think that the runner looks like an aging Dave Grohl (or Blake from Workaholics)? Anyway, the music reminds me of Gorillaz, NIN, and Portugal. the Man (although it’s not as interesting or worthwhile). This song only appeals alongside its video, which is equally inaccessible and tedious, yet its Lynchian weirdness makes it the more appealing component for sure. Without the visual accompaniment, I can’t imagine anyone enduring this track for more than a minute. [5/10]