Malcolm Middleton | Waxing Gibbous (Full Time Hobby)

cd_malcolm-middleton.gifIf Malcolm Middleton is anything, he’s charming.







If Malcolm Middleton is anything, he’s charming. Next up would probably be an excellent storyteller by way of song. Finally, he’s got that gosh-darn Scottish accent that somehow bleeds through his singing voice. Oh, and he’s the former frontman for successful indie rockers Arab Strap. Is that enough reasons to give him a listen?

"Red Travellin’ Socks" kicks off his latest release, Waxing Gibbous. The song invites singalongs, even adding its own backing choir toward the end of the track. With pointed keyboards and instrumentation, the song establishes itself-and the album-early on, as something you’ll want to devote time and ears to. Up next, "Kiss at the Station" is a galloping romp. The quick tempo of the song never lets up, growing more feverish as the refrain swells. "The target is your heart/ destination lips," Middleton proclaims, evoking an instant image of a railway farewell.

Middleton takes things down a bit with "Zero," but this song’s no slouch. Nimbly bouncing from instrument to instrument, incorporating a wave of sound into an indie rock feast, "Zero" is an unsung hero. It may take a few listens, but this song will work its way to the top of your subconscious, and you’ll be glad it did; it’s a great song. The super-mellow "Stop Doing Be Good" explodes into a sea shanty of noise before leading into "Don’t Want to Sleep Tonight" "Everything I do is redundant/ everything I say is a lie," Middleton confesses; you can almost see him kicking the curb as he professes his desire for wakefulness.

"Carry Me" is the song that sweeps you up into its gracious embrace. This little acoustic number could be easily overlooked but for its carefully strummed guitar and Middleton’s delicious Scottish brogue insinuating themselves into your playlist. It’s such a quiet, gentle song, fully deserving of your favor. Next up, of course, is a rockin’ number. "Shadows" is an instant gem; it’ll have you if not singing along then toe-tapping for sure. Angelic female backing vocals further elevate the song into one of special acclaim.

More experimental sounds and richer instrumentation comprise "Box & Knife"; next up is the droning, quiet yet hilariously named "Ballad of Fuck All." Lest you put your dancing shoes away, "Subset of the World" is another one for the" jaunty" column. Closing the disc is the synthesizer-heavy "Love on the Run." The song establishes itself as something of a heavy hitter from the start, then layers on guitars, drums and other sounds before stripping down to piano, vocals and brushed drums…then right back up again. It’s a fitting conclusion to the disc, showcasing both sides of Middleton’s charming repertoire, from tongue-in-cheek upbeat indie numbers to slow, simple singer-songwriter fare.

According to its scientific definition, the waxing gibbous moon is very nearly full and illuminated generally from the right. It generally rises in the afternoon, but usually goes unnoticed until night. Well, here’s your head’s up on Waxing Gibbous; listen now and you’ll be among the first to behold it. A | Laura Hamlett

RIYL: Arab Strap, Idlewild, The Beta Band

About Laura Hamlett 467 Articles
Laura Hamlett is the Managing Editor of PLAYBACK:stl. In a past life, she was also a music publicist and band manager. Besides music, books, and other forms of popular culture, she's a fan of the psychology behind true crime and violent criminals. Ask her about mass murder...if you dare.

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