Out of all the independent bands who released records in 2009 Midi and the Modern Dance was one of the most looked over bands even though they deserved attention more then most of the lo-fi and chillwave projects that dominated this year. Midi is a breath of fresh air in the indie world as they have created an undeniable unique sound without conforming to a set genre.
Their myspace defines them as Melodramatic Popular Song. This does not go far enough to describe the versatility and emotion in their songs. Take for example the sudden change at around the 2 minute mark of “Baby, Don’t Deprave Me.” Up until that point Midi had remained quiet letting Omeed Godarzi’s voice shine over subtle instrumentation. Suddenly a wave of sound lets you know this band means business and are willing to take risks. The song turns from subtle and quiet to loud and ambient. All five members of the band are able to pitch in without playing over each other. Another highlight of the album is the third track “Door By the Pond.” This song is so catchy it is almost unfair. Goodarzi waltzes around violin and drum with confidence and charm not reminiscent of any other band. They again prove their versatility as a minute and a half in violin and electric guitar begin a great call and answer routine. The following track “Ghost” starts simply enough. Goodarzi starts with almost no instrumentation backing him up. As the song develops more layers are added to the sonic landscape until the amazing break after the first minute. Their instrumental’s are simply stunning. Even greater is their ability to change so dramatically with such ease. This seems to be a theme across the album. In almost every song their would be parts where the instrumentation would begin to take off into great, dense and memorable parts. In the song “Out the Room” Goodarzi carries an amazing folk song to start things out. Midi does not want to simply write folk tunes however. Soon the song develops into a sonic wall of banjo, drums, and other instrumentation. The poppiest songs off the album include “Eleanor Song” and “In Due Time.” It is almost impossible not to sing along as Goodarzi sings “And it’s slow under the water. And its slow under our pale skin” on Eleanor. “In Due Time” is the closest Midi gets to a standard alt rock song with a piano riff that will make you forget you ever heard of Matt and Kim. Goodarzi also shows off his chops as he muses with amazing charm “Well I lost myself in a simple pleasure of a woman’s heart. Her name I can’t remember.” The last three songs off the album show off Midi’s greatest strengths. All the songs start simply and beautifully with simple strumming and Goodarzi singing delicately. These songs all develop into second halves of great instrument hooks and melodies. The track “You and Everyone We Love” contains a horn section reminiscent of Beirut. These songs, and all the songs on the album, are dynamic, catching and stunning. I personally was floored with almost every song on the album. I have had no problem putting these tracks right next to songs from Dirty Projectors, Arcade Fire and Animal Collective. Although I personally do not see anything wrong with the record some people may be confused at the unnamed 7th track and the inclusion of a “I’ve Been Working On the Railroad” sample at the end of one track. Although, these tracks help add to the personality of the band they do seem a bit out of place compared to the rest of the amazing album. That said this album is still one of the greatest albums released in 2009 and I advise everyone to check the record and the band out.