To hear the work of Chattanooga trio Midnight Promise is to witness the movement of an ocean of pop and rock influences. Rocking back and forth between a more pop-centric rhythmic perspective and one that favors a deeper classic rock noise, the band is able to mine both these musical expanses to create a heaving wash of complicated sounds and reverent musical investigations. The sound is familiar but never lazy, a testament to the ways they distill the essence of their inspirations.
And bound somewhere deep in this mix of aesthetics and production choices is the spark that sets Midnight Promise on their rhythmic path, a brew of sounds that recalls the rock sway of the Eagles, the alternative swagger of Foo Fighters and the pop wilderness of The Shins. They’re not trying to reinvent the wheel—they’re simply looking to perfect the pop-rock atmospheres with which they’ve become so personally accustomed.
The band has recently hinted that a new record is on the horizon, to be released sometime in the spring. And with that bit of news, they’ve also shared the first single, “Somebody,” from the album, and it’s a song that brings to mind the alt pop radio shuffle of the mid-’90s. There’s a fair amount of nostalgia going on inside the song, but it’s not the kind that draws attention away from the music; rather, it’s the kind that highlights the band’s awareness of the genre and that feels absolutely natural.
While the majority of mainstream music from the mid-’90s wasn’t really known for the subtlety of its construction (there were exceptions, of course), this song revels in the nuance and details of each instrument and how they’re carefully layered within the track. Anchored by the bounce and cascade of rock sounds, courtesy of singer-guitarist Davey Armstrong, bassist Chrono Jesus and drummer Gene Ingram, “Somebody” blends an acoustic and electric palette to create a song that speaks to the past while finding a secure footing in the present. And it does so with a wit and energy that keep it ringing in your head for days.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.