Midas Fall -‘The Menagerie Inside.’ (Monotreme)
Over the course of two great albums Eleven, Return and Revert and Wilderness, and the a couple of EPs, Midas Fall have set out their stall as a unique-sounding band. Led by Vocalist Elizabeth Heaton and guitarist Rowan Burn, their mixture of post-rock, progressive rock, electronica and trip-hop, topped off with those vocals and that guitar-work have made the band an exciting proposition to those who have encountered them.
So yes: I write this review as a confirmed and proud fan. But here’s the thing: even whilst I’m predisposed to enjoy this album, I truly hold The Menagerie Inside to be their best and most accomplished album yet. It starts right from the off with album opener ‘Push’ led by a classical sounding piano that owes far more to early twentieth century classical work than pop music of the last sixty years or so. Yet prog can sometimes be shorthand for self-indulgent and goes on forever – Midas Fall understand how to write rock songs and if they ever had tendencies to go on and on, there’s no evidence of that on their albums. The longest track here ‘The Morning Asked And I Said No’ is six and a half minutes long.
Looking back over past reviews of the band, I remember that I was initially sceptical when the first press release described Ms. Heaton’s vocals as haunting. Like ‘ethereal’ it’s a word that can make music critics suspicious through its overuse. But it definitely applies here, one of many things that makes this such an exciting record. It’s more keyboard driven than before and the violin on ‘Counting Colours’ could bring a tear to a glass eye.
How do I know I like this record so much? Well, given how many albums drop onto the mat and into my inbox I have no shortage of music to listen to. But I have kept coming back to this album, again and again. As well as the aforementioned songs, other highlights include ‘Tramadol Baby’ and ‘Counting Colours.’
Will this record appeal to everyone? I don’t know that there are many records that do, to be honest. But what I would hope is that this is the record that finally takes Midas Fall to the heights of commercial success that they so richly deserve.
The Menagerie Inside is out now on Monotreme