Album Review: The Middle Men – Birthday Party

The Middle Men are a psychedelic indie pop group based in Portland, Maine, USA who have just hit my radar thanks to their new album. All about anxiety, life, relationships and aliens, it’s called Birthday Party.

By Graeme Smith

Feature photo by Haley O’Callaghan

The album opens with Electric Sunset. It’s a sultry, swimming start. Rich electronica is married with some gentle rock elements. Smooth and charismatic vocals come in, delivered with a hip-hop flow in the verse before becoming light and melodic in the chorus. There’s a lot packed into this album opener and draws you in to find out more about The Middle Men.

Slap Me In The Mouth slows things down with a heart-rendering ballad that has its tongue firmly in its cheek. Sit Tight livens things back up again with a bouncing, anthemic number that has a classic rock swagger. Thin Lizzy fans will appreciate it. I Saw What I Saw is a cosmic wonderland. Its introspective, soulful vocals make it a highlight.

20 Days has a smouldering, nostalgic feel about it, and has some devastating lyrics. Feeling Sweeter v2 is a sway-inducing dreamy delight. It marries funk and pop pleasingly. LA Dream brings with it some punchy percussion, rock crescendos and some captivating storytelling. It’s another highlight.

When It Rains has a retro feel about it and tells a tale of romantic relaxation. Freedom Song, by contrast, is rousing. It encourages the listener to shake off the doubts and reaches a triumphant climax in its chorus. In My Head then closes the album with some soaring, singalong reflection.

The Middle Men are a band who can bring together a lot of genre influences and recreate them with their own brand of emotional pop rock. Their latest collection, above all, gives us relatable stories and catchy tunes. Though known locally as a wedding and event covers band, this album proves that their own material is just as good, if not better.

You can listen to Birthday Party below.