The Menagerie Inside
4th September 2015 – Monotreme Records
03. Circus Performer
04. Counting Colours
06. The Morning Asked And I Said No
07. Tramadol Baby
08. Half A Mile Outside
09. A Song Built From Scraps Of Paper
Northerners Midas Fall are somewhat of an enigma. Their mixing of post-rock, gothic undertones, and shimmering shoegaze brings out a level of haunting introspection that flows on waves carried by the melancholic and breathless vocals of Elizabeth Heaton. The Menagerie Inside is the Mancunians’ third full length, and with a run time of fourty-six minutes, does it captivate and intrigue as its exotic name suggests?
Well, the answer to that question is both yes and no. The staggered and wistful piano intro of “Push“, leading into careful and chunky guitar lines, grab your attention almost instantly. Heaton’s vocals are soft and begging for the spotlight throughout. On “Circus Performer” he casts light over the heavily-delayed guitar lines with his breathless vocal, whilst we get the first hints of electronica; the electronic beats certainly make this one of the most interesting tracks on the album.
Whilst the album largely deals with the themes of love – more so the pain that comes from being in love – it at times feels vapid, with colourless soundscapes – which could feel vast and brilliant – anything but that; tracks like “Afterthought” and “Low” seemingly miss the mark they’re trying so hard to achieve.
“Tramadol Baby“, on the other hand, is a masterpiece in vocal post-rock done right. Its emotionally charged and lamented tones are sharp and immediate, and it’s clear that the vocals are here for a reason. A brilliantly executed peacefulness feels like that 4am existential crisis, swirling and twisting the mind. It’s cleverly followed by “Half A Mile Outside“; the sonic equivalent of the calm that follows such a crisis, in which a tranquility grows into restful and ever deeper mindfulness.
Closer “Holes” is the most straightforward track on the entire record; oozing post rock cascades, breathing life into the album once more, and it feels innately positive despite its lyrical content.
It’s clear that as a whole the album has so much to say for itself, but despite several glimmers of hope its true brilliance never really comes to fruition – yet these glimmers are both powerful and memorable.