Despite the ever-growing acclaim and apparent international record label interest, I will admit to be slightly disappointed by The Middle East‘s debut release, ‘The Recordings of The Middle East‘. However, much of this disappointment stems by placing ‘Blood‘ as theÂ middle songÂ on a 5-track EP, raising the bar to such aÂ high levelÂ thatÂ it almost makes the last two songsÂ superfluous.Â In isolation both ‘Fools’ Gold’ and ‘Beleriand’ are fine songs, but just not when they follow ‘Blood’. Even playing around with the ordering of the five songs (and I haveÂ experimented with the running order) doesn’t help solve the problem, with the counting in at the beginning of ‘The Darkest Side’ making it an obvious starting song and there is something so final about the end section of ‘Beleriand’ that the only sensible place for it to be is at the end.
There’s no doubting that ‘Blood’ is a phenomenal song, particularly the movement away from the depressing, fragility of the first half of the song – Â
grandfather, gentle soul, you’ll fly
over your life once more before you die
since our grandma passed away
you’ve waited for forever and a day
just to die
and someday soon
you will die
it was the only woman you ever loved
that got burnt by the sun too often when she was young
and the cancer spread and it ran into her body and her blood
and there’s nothing you can do about it now
– to the extraordinary celebratory outro.Â The words “vital” and “life affirming” get used far too readily in music reviews, but in the case of ‘Blood’ they ring true.Â
Obviously ‘Blood’ is tonight’s highlight.Â The question isÂ asked, but no one’s answering. So why isn’t everyone dancing?
Some more photos on Flickr.
The Middle East