Eleven. Return and Revert
Record Review by Adam McKibbin
There are certain cornerstone bands that seem to appear on more press releases than not, cred-heavy bands whose own press kits are overflowing with critical adulation, having ascended into the rare air that ambitious young bands dream to someday breathe. The Head family – Radio and Portis – have a permanent home there, so it’s little surprise that a new band with a sharp sense of drama and atmosphere would look to model and pitch themselves in those footsteps. And such is the case with Midas Fall, a dynamic post-rock group out of Edinburgh led by potential future star Liz Heaton.
The Radiohead comparison is mostly a canard, as is so often the case; that’s not to say that they weren’t inspired by Radiohead, just that they don’t sound like Radiohead. There are some moody guitar tones here and there that hearken back to certain corners of OK Computer, but just as prominently, and more interestingly, their dark shadings sometimes recall the gloomier, quieter moments of A Perfect Circle or Tool. That would be an interesting avenue for the band to explore further, but they seem to have generally a solid grasp of where they’re headed; the one exception would be the jarring “Fog Sky Nun,” where Heaton lays it on a little too thick while the band plays sci-fi effects and tries saluting fellow Scots Franz Ferdinand.
Midas Fall recently opened for post-rock pioneers Mono (claim to fame #213: the most-reviewed band on The Red Alert). Most of Eleven. Return and Revert stays in a zone that makes that pairing make sense. Both bands share an unabashed passion for patient builds and mighty finishes. Midas Fall fire their best shot right off the bat with “Movie Screens,” a beast of a track that nails the familiar post-rock formula, particularly when they kick into overdrive around the three minute mark, but then separates itself from the pack on the strength of Heaton's dramatic and dynamic vocals, which - at their best - are capable of massive mood swings from "apocalypse of the soul" to "lullaby for my one true love."
The singer that kept jumping to mind for me during Eleven was not Portishead's Beth Gibbons but Evanescence's Amy Lee, if Lee had found herself in a more interesting band. Portishead's music is often slinky and mysterious and sinister and sexy, while Midas Fall keeps more on the far end of the emotional spectrum - turning the drama up to 11. With some growth, though, we could be dropping the reference points altogether - because with Heaton at the helm, there's a chance that Midas Fall can really carve out their own space in the crowded post-rock universe.
More by this writer:
Tori Amos - Interview
Melissa Auf der Maur - Out of Our Minds
Scout Niblett - The Calcination of Scout Niblett
Maynard James Keenan - Interview