Mideau’s Debut Is A Win for Electronic Singer/Songwriters

It feels oddly appropriate that Utah duo Mideau’s self-titled debut album is set for release on a stormy day in New York. Libbie Linton and Spencer J. Harrison (aka Mideau) have made the perfect bad weather soundtrack, full with airy, in-your-face female vocals, complex pop song structures, and an eclectic soundscape that will whisk you into another dimension.

Listen: “Way with Words” – Mideau

Mideau (out April 21) has a melodic, experimental sonic architecture that can fill a gray, rainy day with color and warmth. The key to this album’s beauty is the exchange between Linton’s powerfully evocative voice and the carefully orchestrated surrounding instrumentation. Linton’s airy lilt is an unwavering focus throughout Mideau‘s ten tracks, but each song has an otherwise unique way of showcasing band’s brilliance: Album opener “Hejduk” starts with a minimalist approach, yet by the song’s close it is fully saturated with sounds. What begins with light support of a vocal-driven song ends with an ethereal, overdriven bass drone. The gradual transformation is fascinating.

Such is the quirky-yet-titillating nature of Mideau. This is the kind of band where the only thing you can expect is the unexpected: Electronics mix with acoustic instrumentation to create new and exciting timbres on songs like “Maude,” “Feet To The Sun,” and “Opelika.” Standards of music fly out the door as instrumental backing drops casually in and out of the lo-fi lover “Two Hands.”

Yet each song holds its own weight and lives up to the promises of the one before it.

Listen: “Feet To The Sun” – Mideau

 

The deluxe version of Mideau unearths the band’s roots: A quick jump to “The Welcome Song” and “Blue Paper” proves that the talented duo can and do write acoustic songs. These tracks are mystifying and enticing in their own respects, but they lack the glistening swirls and polished flourishes that bring the band’s fully-produced, electro/folk-pop to life. Mideau are at their peak when they utilize the vast spectrum of colors, ideas and sounds that fuller production offers them.

“Maude” highlights the album’s cohesive diversity: Keyboard-produced sine waves combine with shimmering strings to form an exotically inviting backdrop for Linton’s hypnotic vocal performance. Behind all of that lies some of the most poignant and quaint lyrics of the year to date:

“Maude” – Mideau

I watched in awe of the violent flames
It was a work of art, my focus hard to break
I rebuilt the boards that fell apart
From a swing set marked in chalk in Central Park

Maude, you made me cry – I was only six years old
Maude, you left me alone – it was much too hard, you know

So let’s go back before it started
You make them work for what they want to hear
Your feet in the fire
I’m on my way to find more answers
in the ashes on the avenues
With fear in their eyes

I barely know it anymore
The incidental truth of things once hoped for
A flashlight in force reveals a face
That once had a voice, but never had a name

Maude, you made me cry – I was only six years old
Maude, you left me alone – it was much too hard, you know

So let’s go back before it started
You make them work for what they want to hear
Your feet in the fire
I’m on my way to find more answers
in the ashes on the avenues
With fear in your eyes

Listen: “Maude” – Mideau

 

Mideau_B&W_FromAboveMideau is the result of clever production embedded in original song craft: It’s the best parts of MGMT, The xx, Of Monsters and Men, and Tennis, all mixed together in harmonious cacophony. Whereas The Beatles first showed the world how the recording studio could be its own instrument on 1965’s Revolver, Mideau have once again reminded us of the studio’s power and creative scope.

Their music is not electronic, it is not folk, and it is not electronic folk. Rather, the blend of acoustic and electronic structures the band use in developing their music and realizing each song’s full potential necessitates a new combination of two otherwise distinct genres: Mideau are electronic singer/songwriters. Welcome to the new world.

Listen to Mideau’s debut album Mideau and let us know what you think!

Atwood’s key tracks: “Hejduk” / “Maude” / “Feet to the Sun” / “Two Hands” / “Way with Words”

Mideau Digital Deluxe Album Cover

Listen: Mideau (album) – Mideau

Watch: “Way With Words” – Mideau

Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York's many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch's words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing. Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com