“I Want That You Are Always Happy” – The Middle East

A good musician knows that there is sometimes more to music than what sounds an instrument can make. For The Middle East’s latest offering, I Want That You Are Always Happy, there is definitely a lot more going on than guitars and studio sounds. From the very opening track, the ambience throughout makes the album more of a beautiful soundscape than a mere collection of songs.

While the band has seven members, the album catches the true spacious and minimalistic aspects that set them apart from other indie folk outfits. The beginning of ‘My Grandma Was Pearl Hall’ and the almost Radiohead-esque ‘Sydney To Newcastle’ boast a use of natural, outdoorsy sounds that makes the listener feel as though they are right there with them, which in the case of the latter, is on a train going through New South Wales as we hear announcements from Tuggerah and Wyong.
This is not to say that musicianship is absent from the album, proving the band doesn’t need to rely on various sounds and ambient noises. Previous single, ‘Jesus Came to my Birthday Party’ and latest single, ‘Land Of The Bloody Unknown’, showcase sweet harmonies, a slightly more upbeat instrumentation and of course, very catchy.
The album’s standout point sits towards the end with ‘Deep Water’, which perfectly sums up the haunting, beautiful and natural tone of the album. With the epic clocking in at just over ten minutes, the track embodies all the ambience and spacious feel that is The Middle East while including an impressive crescendo with saxophones and pounding drums, showing that these folksters have plently of bang for buck.
The Middle East have set the bar high with the debut and whether being heard for the first time or from a die-hard fan, it is not one to disappoint.
– David Crowe
(The Hoist, 7-8pm weekdays on SYN)