This is a review of "Spinning Plates" recorded by Middleman. The review was written by Victoria Holdsworth in 2011.
Well these local lads have been around the edge of whatever scene you may try and slot them into, but the fact of the matter is they have been biding their time and perfecting their craft and waiting in the wings to make their right move, and what a killer move it is.
'Spinning Plates' is probably one of the most ground breaking debut albums that I have heard in a very long time.
From the opening track 'Spinning Plates' you would be right in thinking that the scene had been set for the rest of the album, but you would be very wrong.
'Spinning Plates' is a definite hit and you know that you are onto a winner from this cracking opening track. It is punchy and vibrant which lyrically shows a maturity of observations on society, far better than anything Mr Skinner from The Streets could muster. Some outstanding rolling drum beats help to lift this tune and makes you sit up and take notice.
Second track, 'Snapshots' is electro pulsed and as different again to the first song. There is some industrial trance type grooves going through this and it reminded me a little of a Faithless hit. There is however a genius and celestial sound and backing vocal that seeps through from the background noise before bursting into an unusual calmness that makes you feel like you are at the start of a very experimental journey, not dissimilar to the boat ride scene in Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory!
'Chipping Away' has a fantastic indie Manic Street Preachers vibe to its intro before dropping into some cheeky lyrics and is catchy as hell, which leads to the next track, which in my opinion is the best of the lot, 'Can't Hold Me Down' which is cyber punked up Prodigy-esq anthem bouncing goodness that is busting at the seams with energetic breaks that will almost certainly get you jumping around like a mad fool at any festival or alternatively in your living room.
'Adrenalin' is a Pendulum inspired labour of creativity that will then be brought down by the next song, 'Clipped Wings' the obligatory slow, relationship type offering that most people could probably relate to.
'Good To Be Back' is surely the third hit already of this debut album and has radio tune written all over it, proving yet again that Middleman are diverse enough to turn their hands and instruments to anything!
'It's Not Over Yet' is another anthem which is gritty and powerful and you will notice the exceptional use of a cowbell, a classic track that would have stood on its own and will rock the rubbers on your converse.
Another slow one for good measures with 'One Hundred And Thirteen' which has some nice lyrics but somehow doesn't seem to fit this album or work for me with what I have already listened to. It was a strange mix of Fleetwood Mac meets Massive Attack for me personally.
Last track is 'Holding Out For The Sun' which nicely ties everything back to the beginning again at track one and the whole circle has turned. A dazzling chill out tune to wind yourself down.
This album is quirky, extravagant in places, yet the lads seem to pull it off with so many altered facets and dynamics to each song. This is an album you will NEVER get bored of.