Using the best of legacy synth sounds and current sampling technology, This Midnight Stream plays at a sweet slow pace. Ever wonder what would happen if Amy Grant and Peter Murphy made an album? The mixing of overly saccharine moments and goth sub-pop at times finds the album disjointed and at other times a nice counterpoint.
Fallen Angel could have come from Amy Grant's catalog or have been a B-side to Bette Midler's Wind Beneath My Wings. This isn't saccharine. It's the real deal. As sappy as it comes without being sung by Carly Simon. Carole Edwards' vocals are excellent. With perfectly timed phrasing and arrangement. In Black and Blue Robb Earls rings out old Leonard Cohen. Running in absolute counterpoint to the opening track, I wondered if this wasn't perhaps a compilation until Carole's background vocals kick in. Most glaring in this tune is old analog synth doing its best DX-7 impression. This synth patch could use a little FX or sweetening. It's not appealing. There's a reason that patch wasn't used back in '84 even though the DX-7 was the hottest thing to hit the market since Korg.
Thank god for the tune Esther. Escaping the all-too Alanis and Tori Amos stylings of up and coming female artists, Carole gives a light, airy, breathy tune. It is touching and delicate without being repetitive. But damned if it isn't a B-Side from Shooting Rubber Bands at the Stars. Very Edie Brickel phrasing standout minimal tune.
Midnight Stream opens it up, as if the album took a couple tunes to get warmed up. Here Carole solidifies her Edie Brickel influences in a Robb-driven song that could have come from Peter Murphy's 'Bau-Haus Who?' phase. Its got the light pace and is framed nicely with female background vocals. Down to the Bone follows, but I wouldn't be able to tell it was a different tune if my CD player didn't say so. It is definitely not the same, but TMS may want to consider intermixing this tune with the previous like an extended Peter Gabriel early Genesis song (check the album Trespass).
DreamLove is almost creepy in the way it ressurects early-80s chick-driven synth-punk. Head finally opens up TMS's sounds. But where the sound opens, the pace begins to plod. Playing close to early Cure musically, it's the first where Robb backs Carole's vocals. A nice tune, but it breaks no ground from the mid-80's goth in which its rooted.
Of course if their influences include Peter Murphy's early solo work, there must be Love and Rockets in there too. Where Does the Time Go may represent all of it. It has a little smattering of everything Love and Rockets; everything except the thick harmonies of 7th Dream of Teenage Heaven.
This Midnight Stream has all the nihilism of early darkwave from the P.I.L. era. Cinematic is disjointed with the inclusion of some tunes that are so divergent from others. The pace sometimes plods and it often falls back on musical and vocal cliches. It has some rather standout tunes. Esther alone holds a lot of weight of the CD. All in all it plays well. It lacks cohesion, but its strong moments shine.
Post: Sound Vortex Recording, 2806 Oakland Ave., Nashville, TN 37212, USA