Midnight Plus One put on some of the most thrilling concerts locally and with Unlearn Everything they’ve translated it onto an album.
This band is a juggernaut that gains momentum and can’t be stopped. It starts with John “JB” Bowman’s relentless drumming. It’s heavy yet remains nimble enough to propel each song. This frees guitarist Nick Senese develop the few hooks these songs have and then push them further. This duo builds the energy and tension to its threshold. That’s when singer Casey Cook pounces turns on the energy kinetic.
Cook’s vocals are combative. They slash in, punch, claw, shred and scrape. They’re cathartic. Hearing somebody let loose like Cook does can inspire the same in one’s self.
It’s not just this release that makes Unlearn Everything so satisfying, it’s also the myriad of ways it happens. Midnight Plus One is an awesome mixture of The Stooges, Joan Jett, Black Sabbath, Patti Smith and so much more. Senese even adds touches of hair metal guitar to mix, but not the superfluous soloing. He adds just the bit where they push the tones up the scale and hold the tension. It’s the bit that makes listeners believe that maybe, just maybe, they can reach a little further, that there’s still something to hope for.
The opening song, “Reflection,” is a perfect mix of pummeling drums, larger than life guitar and Cook’s crazy, barely in control vocals. “Die Zone” is more deliberate, a punk march that will have fists in the air. The climax is “Voodoo Medicine.” The band drives in double time, building the tension with unexpected bars of half time, before sprinting to the end in a finish that could demolish stages near and far.
If you’ve seen Midnight Plus One in the last year, Unlearn Everything is the record you’ve been waiting for. If you haven’t, listening to these 10 songs will make you do just about anything to see them live.
Unlearn Everything is out now on Negative Fun Records.
Midnight Plus One will play with Spider Bags at the Cat’s Cradle Back Room immediately following the Kim Gordon book reading on February 25. Tickets are $7 via Ticketfly.