Constantly searching for new bands leaves you strangely myopic.
Tunnel vision develops insidiously and subtly, until one day you realise that the only bands who will spark your synapses any more are the most obscure, defiant and truly gauche; the bands for whom melody is a dispensable luxury and strange noise-making is all that counts.
These bands are all well and good – and in fact, they might well be my favourites – but focussing on one small niche of anything is a crime against balance. Too much of anything is a bad thing. (With the exception of peanut butter on toast, of which there can never be enough. But I digress.)
Midnight Boatman make old-fashioned, old-time, old-world music. It’s sometimes difficult to remember that this is not a crime.
Songs like Forward take a tried-and-tested approach: a guitar, a couple of doleful voices, a song about love, loss and life. Honest voices nip and tuck, and the guitars buckle under the weight. It’s a song racked with self-doubt but infused with optimism; accurately picturing the pinprick of light that spurs the sad onwards.
Perhaps Midnight Boatman have found a new way to be innovative simply by using old techniques. Perhaps I’m trying to look for something that isn’t there. Either way, in Midnight Boatman, charm abounds.
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