Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Isle of Shoals

With so many bands wandering off in the digital wilderness these past couple of years, subsisting solely on a steady diet of looped beats and software-songwriting slouching, it sounds downright retro at this stage to play simple rock and roll. In the case of gloomy new-wave Boston punters Midatlanic, that approach — reaching all the way back to, like, five years ago, when the Killers weren't playing cowboy dress-up — comes as a welcome, if brief, respite from the tyranny of the synth.

Except, oops, they play synths here, too. But, you know, in a rock-and-roll way.

This quickie EP release proves that some bands are still reaching for the sweeping grandeur of stadiums past. "The New Frontier" picks up where their previous effort, the romantic and stylish The Longest Silence, left off, careering through giant, delay-darkened riffs and hammering disco-fied beats that prove just as useful for dance-floor spinning as they do for bedsit breast beating. It's the standout here; the slow-burning "Beautiful Lie" seems sluggish in comparison.

"Waiting For" and "Disaster" prove that Midatlantic fare best when they're edging toward the farthest reaches of the anthemic speed limit. It's not easy keeping up with the rise of the machines, but the resistance has at least one hearty soldier.

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