(Full Time Hobby)
He’s saddled with a generic name that runs the risk of
confusing him with any number of other semi-anonymous musicians, but on his
fifth album, the gloriously radiant Waxing
Gibbous, Malcolm Middleton proves he’s a talent worth remembering. Sounding at times like David Gray with a
bigger set of balls, this savvy Scot and former member of the Arab Strap offers
a set of songs that impel the listener to anticipate every note to come.
While Middleton makes the most of ambiance, texture and
pulsating, percolating rhythms, he doesn’t forsake song and structure in the
process. Opening track “Red Travellin’
Socks” boasts an anthemic rush that would make Springsteen and his E Street
bunch nod with pride, while the rousing peaks of “Kiss at the Station” shuffle
energy and anticipation at full throttle.
The album finds respite midway through, but Middleton never falters;
when “Don’t Want to Sleep Tonight” has him declaring “Everything I do is
redundant, everything I sing is a lie,” he’s clearly selling himself
short. The snappy “Shadows” and the
adrenalin-etched “Subset of the World and “Love on the Run” provide a stirring
crescendo to an album that boasts no shortage of compelling performances.
Consider it a clear contender for sleeper of the year.
Tracks: “Red Travellin’ Socks,” “Kiss at the Station,” “Shadows”