There’s a special breed of music lovers, the unbelievably desperate nostalgic of some work I did two hundred years ago, the Tales Of Acid Ice Cream record. Seasonally there’s one or two of those neurotic misfits who appear and contact me any which way to ask “But Gilles, why the hell don’t you release anything like Tales Of Acid Ice Cream?”. Then they say how cool it was, and quickly emphasize on how ‘uncool’ is my music now (fucking hell, those poor things…). In early stages I tend to try to raise an argument but it usually proves useless. They think ToAIC was the real shit, and everything else coming after is undoubtedly rubbish. Let it be.
The quickest way to get rid of those time-distorted unfaithful fans is to send them to either old Belgian New Beat vinyl records or in case of desperate persistence, Midrone, a project led from Spain by a French guy converted to Museo del Jamon and other guilty Catalan pleasures.
He’s not a complete stranger to the Awaken world, since besides carrying out a part of the acid heritage he’s also a collaborator of the Sousbock experience. Therefore this shouldn’t be a surprise to know that on Midrone’s 5th album there’s a drummer named Sébastien Bournier.
Not that Midrone would be a complete clone of the old Awaken stuff, far from that, but hell there are some notes that no one could really say they don’t strike a chord on them. Yet let’s be honest, on 5 records and unexpected ripples on the leader’s Bon-joviesque face, Midrone slightly moved away from its original influences, to synthetize a sophisticated pop that has, for the worse, some modern elements that sometimes embarrassingly follow the James Blunt / Ed Sheeran footsteps (gosh…) with its typical ‘ooh why did you go’ tear-jerking disposable rubber ballads. But for the best it has the romanticism and delicateness of the most captivating of Anthony Phillips plentiful discography or early 80’s neo-prog now forgotten acts. Not bad for a band that has only but a little substance to offer on the rock’n’roll side. Midrone’s regular geeky lifestyle won’t catch anyone’s eyes with crude stories, which might hopefully leave more space for the ears to get something more captivating than the bland shit pouring out on the radio these days.
Storm Over has its share of fine moments, meaningful melodies and well-cooked arrangements (“Dany”, “It’s Over”) that make the purchase worth the pennies it costs. Even the dull seconds (the scary start of “Bitter Smile” or the Ed Sheeran bad smell of “Gone In The Night”) are just what they are: seconds. Midrone has the rare talent to give each song its own life. He can use a Mellotron without making it sound like a retarded prog parody (“Storm Over”, what a catch!), wink at Gino Vanelli fans (the beautiful “Food For Thoughts”) and even trying to make us dance (“Stranger In This World”, the only tribute to the old Midrone by the new Midrone), nothing really seems out of place. Even the cheezy Disney-like “Flying Lullaby” with its Prince Charming-meets-Princess piano and all the birds and the trees and the bad witch becoming good kind of shit is kind of cute, in its own way.
Storm Over is about storms all over the place, with another look at strong winds on “A Storm Must Have Come”, an almost funky, at least almost up-tempo, fake horn-driven with drummer Bournier’s crazy snare drum-roll that were last heard by the New Kids On The Block back in 1991.
I sometimes freeze at some of Midrone’s hard-to-explain choices, like the “I Don’t Know The Words” that starts like a mainstream 2010’s tearjerker that fills MTV playlist, then gradually turns into an eurock anthem with hammer-like drums and a wall of acoustic. Not my favourite, but it’s still quite good considering the album comes from the country of one of the lousiest places in the world, the brainless attraction Ibiza.
Midrone demonstrated again that he could release good stuff with enough personality to avoid the trap of parody, except maybe on the final track, “Before The Storm”, that sounds like a passionate artist willing to show the whole world that his main influence is Genesis –with or without Phil Collins. Come on…
Storm Over is a good album that has, unlike previous Midrone album, a real unity and strong enough moments to be memorized and enjoyed as such, whatever the background is. A musician’s approach rather than a rock album, but a musician’s album that has enough to convince those who don’t give a shit about chords, tempo and time signature.