One of the coolest things about running A&GS is that in the five years we’ve been at it I’ve gotten to know some bands from back in my youth who I might have not really been into or simply dismissed. When said band’s new album hits my inbox, one that I wasn’t expecting, I figure, “Ah, what the Hell?” and usually give it a cursory spin not expecting much. And while there are some groups I hated then and still can’t listen to now (KIX, FASTER PUSSYCAT…oy), I have been pleasantly surprised by the freshness and vitality of a lot of them more often than not. So, where we going with this? Glad you asked…
I never really gave LIZZY BORDEN’S music the time of day back in the late 80’s, or at all. I didn’t hate the guy, just had no interest. But when My Midnight Things (June 15, Metal Blade Records), his first album of new material in 11 years and follow up to Appointment With Death fell into my lap, I was very intrigued. And as the opener and title track progressed that intrigue quickly turned into happiness. I even said aloud to no one, “This. This pleases me.” The core subject matter of these songs is love, but not in the sugary, sappy way, thank the Gods. Every track hits hard and is lyric-driven, as those were penned first. I was especially taken with the epic, grandiose, multi-layered vocals a la QUEEN. That sucked me in real fast!
Take “Obsessed With You” for example. Listen to it once and just try to get that chorus out of your head. Not gonna happen, my friend; it’s addictive. And oh man, “Long May They Haunt Us” is a thing of beauty with an infectious guitar groove and one of the most soaring hooks on the disc. Hell, I was singing that one loudly all day at work today and was met with several cries of, “Will you shut the FUCK up, already?!?” Another cool thing is Joey Scott’s drumming on the record is never overdone. He’s not trying to be an eight-armed man. And while he does lay down solid grooves and drop in some nice fills where needed, he never once gets out of control, which can ruin a track sometimes.
“The Scar Across My Heart” is where Marliese Quance Mildenberger’s keyboards really add another dimension. She’s all over the album, but this one especially resonated with me. Another instant winner is “Run Away With Me”, starting a bit subdued then turning into a rocker that evoked a bit of CHEAP TRICK, another of my favorite bands. One of the heavier tunes is “Our Love Is God” featuring a pretty feisty riff and some serious attitude. Then we completely shift gears for “My Midnight Things (Reprise)”. It’s stripped down, dark, and haunting, and is actually the first version BORDEN wrote (more on that in our upcoming interview…stay tuned!). It’s so well-done and I haven’t seen a band do something like this in years, so I was all in.
Closing the disc is another of my favorites with “We Belong to the Shadows”. From an a cappella intro to the anthemic and uplifting feel of the song, you just can’t go wrong here. And the key change later on had me in absolute awe of the vocals. I’m just gonna go ahead and say it: I can’t believe I slept on LIZZY BORDEN all these years. But hey, I can think of no better way to start my education than with My Midnight Things. Do yourselves a favor and go get this one, whether you’re a longtime fan or a new one like me. A very diverse record, there’s something for everyone here, and I sure as Hell came away very impressed and wanting more!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Obsessed With You”, “Long May They Haunt Us”, “We Belong to the Shadows”, “Run Away With Me”, “My Midnight Things (both versions)”