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Album Review

Midnight Sky Captivates on New LP “Last Hope for the Modern World”

Midnight Sky’s latest LP, “Last Hope for the Modern World,” is a captivating musical journey that seamlessly blends Americana roots with a modern sensibility. From the uplifting title track to the reflective “Even Forever Ends,” the album showcases a dynamic range of emotions while maintaining an overall lighthearted and hopeful atmosphere.

The LP opens with the title track, “Last Hope for the Modern World,” immediately setting a mood of optimism and brightness. The rollicking classic Americana instrumentation infuses the song with a sense of fun, inviting listeners into Midnight Sky’s musical universe. The title track serves as a fitting introduction to an album that explores both the highs and lows of life’s less glamorous experiences.

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As the album progresses, songs like “Long Way Back To Town” and the album closer, “Even Forever Ends,” reveal a more solemn and serious side of Midnight Sky. Despite delving into deeper emotional territory, the band skillfully avoids descending into despair, maintaining a delicate balance that keeps the album accessible and relatable. It’s a testament to Midnight Sky’s ability to navigate a spectrum of emotions while keeping the overarching tone optimistic.

One of the standout features of “Last Hope for the Modern World” is Midnight Sky’s adept use of different vocalists throughout the album. In tracks like “The Other Side,” the shift in vocalists adds a refreshing change in sound, keeping the listener engaged and highlighting the band’s versatility. These unexpected shifts contribute to the album’s variety, creating a dynamic listening experience that evolves with each track.

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Surprises abound in the LP, with tracks like “12th Street Serenade” infusing groovy Spanish influences into Midnight Sky’s familiar style. This adventurous exploration of different musical elements adds a layer of complexity to the album, showcasing Midnight Sky’s willingness to experiment while maintaining their signature sound.

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Throughout the album, the production remains consistently excellent. Each track is crafted with precision and care, ensuring that no song lacks effort or attention to detail. The vocals take center stage in many songs, and rightly so, especially in standout tracks like “The One Who Really Loved Me.” The production allows the nuances of the vocals to shine, capturing the emotive essence of Midnight Sky’s storytelling.

Overall, we feel “Last Hope for the Modern World” stands as a testament to Midnight Sky’s artistry and commitment to delivering a cohesive and engaging musical experience. The album successfully navigates a spectrum of emotions, showcasing Midnight Sky’s ability to balance optimism with introspection. It’s a standout showing in their discography, and we’re eager to see what they’ve got cooking up next.

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–Jason Airy

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Album Review

Belle Lundon Gets Emotional and Existential on “Space Cadet”

Belle Lundon is a multifaceted artist excelling in music, acting, and songwriting. Raised in New Orleans and now based in Houston, her artistic journey blossomed at the California Institute of the Arts. In 2016, Belle won a Coca-Cola music competition, leading to a performance at the Apollo Theater in New York where she captivated audiences with “He Wants It All” by Forever Jones. Beyond covers, Belle’s original song “My Soul to Keep” earned her the W.A.M. Award for Best Gospel Song in 2020. Belle’s passion lies in sharing her music globally, with dreams of embarking on international tours, always striving for authenticity, success, and happiness in her artistry.

Her latest single, “Space Cadet” captures the internal struggle of feeling overwhelmed and seeking redemption and support. It conveys a narrative of personal turmoil, mistakes, and the human desire for a sense of upliftment and understanding. The recurring motif of drowning and being lifted up symbolizes the search for hope and assistance in times of despair.

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The lyrics delve into themes of vulnerability, redemption, and the human condition. The repeated lines “Feels like I’m drowning, grab my hands and lift me up” suggest a plea for help and connection, emphasizing the universal need for support and understanding. The contrast between “giving up” and “not giving up” reflects the internal conflict between resignation and resilience. The mention of “Subliminal like haiku” indicates a nuanced and profound communication of feelings, akin to the brevity and depth of haiku poetry. The invocation of “Chrios” could symbolize a call to a higher power or inner strength, adding a spiritual dimension to the song’s exploration of seeking guidance and clarity.

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For further thematic exploration, artists like Sufjan Stevens, with his introspective and often spiritual lyrics, and Florence + The Machine, known for their poetic and metaphysical themes, would resonate with the mood and style of “Space Cadet.”

“Space Cadet” seems to be a richly textured song that weaves together themes of struggle and resilience with a musical backdrop that spans pop, R&B, and electronic genres, infused with elements of dream pop and synth-pop. The song’s narrative centers on the journey through hardship, underlined by an emotional plea for support and the hope for a brighter, more euphoric future. Its lyrics reflect a deep sense of being overwhelmed yet underscore a strong will to persevere and overcome, making it a poignant anthem for those facing their own battles.

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The combination of hopeful, resilient, and determined moods with the thematic focus on struggle, resilience, and support creates a compelling contrast against the relaxed, dreamy, and ethereal tones provided by the music’s instrumentation. The use of synth, drums, guitar, and piano, alongside the subgenres like chillwave and lo-fi, suggests a sound that is both introspective and uplifting, capable of transporting the listener to a state of contemplation and solace.

This duality between the song’s thematic depth and its sonic atmosphere might be what Belle Lundon aims to convey: a message that even in the depths of adversity, there is a space for dreaming, hope, and finding support, whether through personal connections or the universal experience of music. “Space Cadet” appears to be an invitation to acknowledge our vulnerabilities and struggles but also to remember the strength and resilience within us that helps to navigate through tough times.

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–James Watkins

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Album Review

Sugarcane Jane Struggles with Life’s Choices and Consequences on “Burn”

Sugarcane Jane, composed of the husband and wife duo Anthony Crawford and Savana Lee Crawford, is a treasure of the Americana music scene. Hailing from the deep south of Alabama, they are celebrated for their harmonious blend of country, folk, and roots music. Anthony Crawford brings an impressive musical pedigree to the partnership, having worked with renowned artists like Neil Young, Steve Winwood, and Dwight Yoakam. Savana Lee adds her rich, soulful vocals and a knack for storytelling that resonates with listeners. Together, they create music that is both deeply personal and universally relatable, marked by intricate guitar work, captivating melodies, and lyrics that speak to the heart. Their performances are a testament to their chemistry, both on stage and in life, making Sugarcane Jane a beloved act in the Americana and folk music circuits.

Their recent album release, “On a Mission” is a collection of rootsy rock n roll tracks, including first single, “Burn.” “Burn” is a compelling musical exploration of the human condition, articulated through the lens of making choices and the inherent uncertainty that accompanies them. The lyrics adeptly navigate the listener through a journey of internal struggle, capturing the essence of indecision and the myriad paths that life offers. This song stands out for its ability to encapsulate the emotional turbulence of decision-making—highlighting not just the moment of choice but the profound aftermath of those choices.

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The moods of confusion and determination are particularly pronounced, painting a vivid picture of the mental tug-of-war that characterizes moments of significant decision-making. The song’s introspective quality invites listeners to reflect on their own experiences with choices and the paths they’ve taken or forsaken.

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Thematically, “Burn” delves deep into the core of internal struggle and the consequences of our decisions. The song serves as a poignant reminder of the uncertainty we all face and the introspective journey we undertake in seeking our truth. Its reflective tone, coupled with the themes of decision-making and internal struggle, makes “Burn” resonate deeply with listeners, encouraging a personal introspection about the paths we choose in life.

Overall, “Burn” offers a rich tapestry of lyrical depth that speaks to the soul’s quest for direction amidst life’s crossroads. It’s a song that not only entertains but also provokes thought, making it a valuable addition to the discourse on life’s complexities.

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Frank Filipetti

 

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