Sometimes the album title threatens to say it all. In the case of NYC quintet, Midnight Spin, the full-pelt opener to Don’t Let Me Sleep suggests you won’t need to reach for an energy drink to stay out of the land of nod, but rather put this record on repeat. “Lion Run” hurtles along in a flurry of urgent riffs, flailing drums and Mike Corbett’s school-of-rock vocal. With the first song dispatched well short of three minutes, you’re all set to be non-drowsy until track 12. Then subtlety sets in with the moody “Conchis Bliss”, a song that recalls album producer Justin Gerrish’s work with The Strokes.
Further into the record, light and shade emerges to balance the band’s obvious punk and metal influences and helps establish Midnight Spin’s debut as an accomplished work. Many of the songs evoke an after-hours city and reek of dawns ushered into a basement studio. Images of the night and bleary-eyed recording sessions pervade them and come together in the impassioned title track in which Corbett petitions: “Don’t let me sleep / Prop me up one more time”. Blessed with a standout melody, a big chorus, and sprinkled with economical guitar fills, the song is destined to be a true crowd-pleaser.
There are also unexpected treats, not least in the Beatles-like melody lines and wistful lyrics of a pace-changing song like “Aeria”: “I listened for the radio to let me know the world was still alive”. Jeremy Cohen’s old school keyboards that skilfully fill out much of the record really shine here too. That a song as gentle and considered as “Aeria” can live comfortably alongside the pure metal riffing of “Animal” and driving hooks of “Reagan Babies” says a lot about the versatility of this band. Those early suspicions of simple adrenaline rush are replaced by a sense that Midnight Spin can deliver more than just kicks.
Essential tracks: “Don’t Let Me Sleep”, “Conchis Bliss”, and “Aeria”