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The Midway State

Met a Man on Top of a Hill

(Interscope; US: 19 Jun 2007; UK: Available as import)

This Canadian band has some good chops, but it’s the sort of release that doesn’t really distinguish itself from others. The four-song EP opens with the vast, wide open, Coldplay-tinted title track—the highlight being the strong vocal performance on the chorus. Meanwhile, a softer, melancholic piano number “Change For You” doesn’t quite soar as high as it could as chief songwriter Nathan Ferraro reaches for those sugar-coated high notes that brings the song up by its proverbial bootstraps. Perhaps the highlight of this effort is the sullen but solid “Nobody Understands” which brings to mind some distant cousin of Joe Jackson at best and, at, worst, Christopher Cross. The closing “A Million Fireflies” is perhaps the highlight here as The Midway State mixes the best of the softer piano touches with a harder, edgier rock blueprint thanks to the guitar work of Michael Wise.

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Originally from Cape Breton, MacNeil is currently writing for the Toronto Sun as well as other publications, including All Music Guide, Billboard.com, NME.com, Country Standard Time, Skope Magazine, Chart Magazine, Glide, Ft. Myers Magazine and Celtic Heritage. A graduate of the University of King's College, MacNeil currently resides in Toronto. He has interviewed hundreds of acts ranging from Metallica and AC/DC to Daniel Lanois and Smokey Robinson. MacNeil (modestly referred to as King J to friends), a diehard Philadelphia Flyers fan, has seen the Rolling Stones in a club setting, thereby knowing he will rest in peace at some point down the road. Oh, and he writes for PopMatters.com.


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