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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Band I Hate to See Break Up: The Middle East - I Want That You Are Always Happy

When Awesome and Creepy Collide
Well, I had to change the title of this post because I was doing a little research and read that they split 2 days ago. They announced this mid-set playing at Splendor In The Grass in Queensland, Australia, which is from where the band hails. I have had this album for a couple of weeks now and planned to do a regular review talking about how much I dig it so this was quite an unpleasant surprise.

I Want That You Are Always Happy, the debut LP from The Middle East, was released on July 12 of this year. It is the follow up to their debut EP Recordings of The Middle East which was originally released in 2008 prior to their 1st breakup. It was released in 2009 and started to garner more attention in the US. That is about the time they stepped away from playing mostly Christian festivals and started hitting more mainstream ones and opened some shows for Grizzly Bear.

When I put 'Always Happy on for the 1st time and heard the opening track "Black Death 1349" my initial thought was they reminded me of Fleet Foxes pre Helplessness Bues. The 2nd song started a trend of songs that brought to mind the aforementioned Grizzly Bear. You've got the weirder darker GB side on the 2nd track "My Grandma Was Pearl Hall." Then you have the poppier side of GB on "As I Go To See Janey." I listened a little more and started to notice an old school pop-folk flavor in there as well, especially in "Jesus Came To My Birthday Party." Obviously, the religious element is still present in some of their lyrics and song titles.

I am sad to read of this band's demise. Would have been interesting to see if they would have gotten lost in the shuffle with the likes of Grizzly Bear, Deerhunter and the folksters out there popping out of the woodworks. Or maybe they would have done so much more.

Check out "As I Go To See Janey" below (and you get to look at the cover again! bonus)

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