The album starts with Never Again which is an anthemic rocker that mixes the sonic sounds of U2 with the upbeat melodic rock that is similar to Days Difference, Delaware & Air Traffic. Musically the band really comes together well on the opener and the song is built up very well, although at times slightly predictable. But cause of the strong timing and intense deliverance, this song is a very good introduction to The Midway State.
Change For You
Change For You is up next. While the songwriting on the song is pretty fine, the song doesn’t really seem to shine too much. Everything’s alright but nothing really stands out. The vocals are good, but not extraordinary, the drums are pretty standard and the rest of the song also sounds like different parts that don’t really make a whole. Not as convincing as I had hoped.
The ambitious approach on Nobody Understands is worked out pretty well. The stripped down nature of the song brings out the vocals really well, and the subtle keys under it complete the mood of the song. When it gets going in the 2nd half of the 2nd minute it gets a more round and pop approach which does the song well and makes it more approachable for the average pop fan. There are some obvious 80s and 90s influences and this song is qualitively one of the very best on this record.
The more mysterious and lingering Fireflies thrives on a good piano arrangement. The vocals aren’t the strongest on the album, but do fit with the character of the song. With it’s changes in tempo and loudness it has a bit of an early 90s approach. It kinda sounds like an attempt of Saybia plays the Pixies or the other way around. It’s quite an interesting and intriguing idea, but in practice it doesn’t really do much to me. It’s done with class, but the band is still struggling to find their comfort zone. I do admit, however, that the chorus has something going for it.
Unaware is one of my favorite songs on the album. It has a good rhythm and the vocals and music are in perfect balance. The passionate singing and strong songwriting make this song a serious contender for being a radio single. The song gets catchier by the second and has singing-along-capability.
Can’t Stop Waking Up To You
The beatuiful piano ballad Can’t Stop Waking Up To You is a reason in itself why I have a lot of faith in this band’s future. It has this classic beauty and is one heck of a pop song. The instruments all come together and create the perfect atmosphere for this stellar song. Topped off with passionate vocals and inspiring lyrics, this song could be a very big hit.
The title track of the album. Holes is a song that grows on me. The uptempo singing combined with the angsty piano arrangement sounds a little rushed at some points but does succeed to keep my attention. The song could use a little more variety, but all in all it holds its own on this album.
Where Did We Go
Where Did We Go? has radio single written all over it. The catchy song sticks in your head. It’s not the band’s best song but it sure is a strong song and might provide some good radio exposure for them. The smart arrangement invites the listener to get involved and has a knack for getting you to hum or sing along.
Hold My Head Up
Hold My Head Up has a bit of that classic feel too. Right when you think they take that feel a little bit too far, the song changes gear and keeps your attention. The changes in the arrangement are clever and the deliverance of the song is strong and energetic. Probably one of the better songs on “Holes”.
Fire Keeps On Burning
This is probably one of my favorite songs on the album. The uptempo rhythm (slightly reminiscent of Kings of Leon, just a little more easy-going) and the intense vocals are thrusted forward by the well-timed drumming. The build up to the chorus is good and the chorus is pure gold. If they don’t put this on the radio I don’t know what the heck they should. Could be an instant hit with proper promotion.
The band continues strong with I Know which has a more alternative feel. The slick performance and well-balanced arrangement gives the song plenty of character and shows sophistication and guts. The performance of the song is full of power and sensitivity at the same time. The energy and melodic qualities of the song give the song that little edge that it needs to become more than just another okay song. I Know is a song that The Midway State can be proud of.
I’ve grown to really like this band while reviewing this album and it’s too bad that we’ve arrived at the final track for this record. Thankfully though, this band has more than enough talent to produce more albums so not to worry. As for No Crying, it’s a decent yet slightly predictable album closer. The piano arrangement is nice and the gentle, melodic song with it’s anthemic build-up and mid-tempo vocals is done quite well but it’s not the band’s most daring song.
You might think ‘yet another piano-rock band’ and in a way you’re right. But The Midway State really has a sound of their own. Sometimes you can hear a little U2, sometimes a little Crowded House, sometimes a little Delaware/Air Traffic/Saybia/Days Difference and sometimes a little Chicago or REO Speedwagon. What the band does so well is that they can use all these different influences into a sound that reminds you of bands like that, but doesn’t resemble it so much it sounds old. The Midway State is a band that writes sensitive piano pop & rock and passionately performs this in a fit-for-radio manner. The songs have good arrangements and the band, though still seeking for their ultimate comfort zone, has talent to lean on. With “Holes” they made a good step towards establishing a good name for themselves on which they can further their career. These talented Canadians are only at the start of something beautiful.