Midnite City - Itch You Can't Scratch

 

2021 has seen some great albums already, and after Midnite City unwittingly became one of the last international acts a lot of us Australia Rock fans saw back in March last year, hearing something new from them was always something to eagerly anticipate whilst we wait for their return! But coming up with a album mid-pandemic that would stand head and shoulders against their first two releases was always going to be a tough proposition wasn’t it?

In the world of Modern 80’s flavoured Melodic Rock there are of course a number of big names when you look at the European scene: most notably perhaps Eclipse and H.E.A.T. then there’s Crazy Lixx, Rekkless Love and bands like The New Roses and Black Diamonds, not to mention a host of other bands that tick a lot of those boxes like W.E.T., Dynazty, Brother Firetribe, Kissin’ Dynamite, the list goes on. And all that of course without even mentioning the greats of the era who are still out there putting great music either in the same guise or a variation of the same; or the bands that fall into a Sleazier category like Crashdiet and co.

If you’re simply looking for Arena sized acts though of course those days are sadly gone, but the sound certainly isn’t. So if you crave the sounds of that golden era from early Bon Jovi and Def Leppard to Poison and Whitesnake there are arguably bands out there right now who would have been huge 30 odd years ago. For me three albums in Midnite City are right at the top of that tree and here’s why…

When you have behind you a bunch of  gems like ‘Here Comes the Party’, ‘You Don’t Understand Me’, ‘Summer of Our Lives’ and ‘Give Me Love’ it’s hard to imagine writing songs that could replace them in the setlist, but the problem with ‘Itch You Can’t Scratch’ is that it’s in danger of squeezing out some of your favourite Midnite City tunes from the setlist! It’s the best of positions to be in of course!

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‘Itch You Can’t Scratch’ could well be the band’s best record yet, and rather than stay safe and deliver a collection to replicate the eponymous ‘Midnite City’ and ‘There Goes the Neighbourhood’ we see the band pushing a few boundaries and taking a few risks. The best examples of that are probably two of the three singles released in the lead up – ‘Crawlin’ In the Dirt’ with it’s harder edge and ‘They Only Come Out at Night’  with its darker cinematic feel and lush layered melodies which take the song in a wonderful new direction (love that video!)

Opening with the first two singles of the three already released though might be the only slight misstep here, but it does on the other hand build the anticipation as you hit ‘play’ or drop the needle in the groove of you have the vinyl! ‘Crawlin’ In The Dirt’ of course is delightfully heavy and the inescapable groove of the Danger Danger-meets Def Leppard ‘Atomic’ really does hit the spot. The problem for album fans is that with the release of a third single – ‘They Only Come Out at Night’ before drop day – there’s almost a third of the ten songs here already out there in the wild. But it’s a minor niggle.

 

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The first ‘new’ track the mid-tempo ‘Fire Inside’ is one of the things Midnite City do best – write a song with a huge set of wings that just lift you up and let you look down on all that’s good with the world, it’s a real mood lifter made to sing along to. ‘Darkest Before the Dawn’ that follows ups the pace slightly and sports a chorus that just clicks beautifully.

Those gems are quickly followed by the majestic build of  ‘I Don’t Need Another Headache’ – another winner swamped in lush melody and equal Pop Rock nous, before the ‘let it all rip’ party rock wail of  ‘Blame It On Your Lovin” kicks in,. It’s a helluva introduction to the real meat of the album and if you already love the band you’ll be beaming from ear to ear! If this is all new to you you’ll be in Hard Rock heaven.

Third single ‘They Only Come Out At Night’ follows, it’s a composition of real maturity, and man those guitars! Resting against the harder-edged rocker ‘Change Of A Lifetime’ which it’s a wonderful one-two punch.

With the first two records sporting 11 tracks (plus an alternate take making 12 on the Japanese releases) the ten tracks of ‘Itch’ do seem to breeze by, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing when there’s no weak links in sight, and of course we do  appreciate that it’s all about fitting the album on that single vinyl!

We hit the home stretch with one of my highlights – the ballad ‘If It’s Over’ which is beautifully orchestrated piano and show-stopping refrain – it’s a song that just captures a feeling we’ve all felt and realizes it beautifully. We close Midnite City’s third long-player with the good time ‘blue sky’ rock of ‘Fall To Pieces’ and yet another unforgettable refrain.
The Japanese CD version of the album adds an 11th song – the rather fittingly titled ‘Girls of Tokyo’ which if I’m honest’ doesn’t quite have the immediacy of the rest of the songs here but that’s more of a comment on the quality of the release than a song which in lesser hands could easily be a high point…
Almost 15 moths after their last live show at the Melodic Rock Fest in Melbourne Australia there seems to be finally light at the end of the tunnel with live dates booked and a Festival in my old backyard just weeks away  – and believe me this is a record that needs to be heard live and loud! Man that Festival set list is going to be hard! If you’ve been itching for some world beating Melodic Hard Rock – your itch has been well and truly scratched!
9/10

Midnite City consisting of lead vocalist Rob Wylde, drummer Pete Newdeck, lead guitarist Miles Meakins, keyboardist Shawn Charvette and bassist Josh ‘Tabbie’ Williams will be releasing their third full-length studio album Itch You Can’t Scratch via Roulette Media on May 28th 2021.

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