Review: Midnite City – Itch You Can’t Scratch
Roulette Media Records (May 28th 2021)
Reviewer: Jason Hopper
Midnite City return with their highly anticipated third album, ‘Itch You Can’t Scratch‘. While their debut in 2017 was well received and impressionable, I found their second album ‘There Goes The Neighbourhood‘ to be a marked improvement with overall better constructed songs. I was hoping the band would continue on this upward trajectory and I’m happy to report that is exactly what has happened here. Without a doubt, the best release from this band and one of the best releases of the year.
The album kicks off with first single ‘Crawlin’ In The Dirt’, a song I have been listening to for months. If you are wondering if this is representative of the album in terms of style and quality, it’s a solid YES on both counts. Hard driving rock on par with the best songs from the 80s. Track 2 (‘Atomic’) was the second single and I was very familiar with that as well, so for me the new stuff begins with Track 3, and man oh MAN is it incredible! ‘Fire Inside’ is mid-tempo melodic rock perfection. It’s everything I love about the music I have been listening to for over thirty years. Great melody, keyboards and background vocals in all the right places, and a chorus that gives you the tingles in the back of your head as all your neurons fire all at once (I’m not the only one that happens to, right?)
There’s not one weak track on this album, so let’s talk about a few others that I would consider my favorites. ‘Darkest Before The Dawn’ has the great combination of bassist Josh Williams and keyboardist Shawn Charvette driving the verses to another gorgeous chorus. ‘Blame It On Your Lovin’ will have you screaming, “I GOTTA HAVE MORE COWBELL, BABY!” 15 seconds into the song. Drummer Pete Newdeck knew that quote would be referenced when he tracked this song.
Anyone who may have read my previous reviews may have come across my music “kryptonite” – Hard Melodic Rock with a tinge of horror. Third single ‘They Only Come Out At Night’ delivers just that. Moody, atmospheric, seductive, and rockin’! Finally, the album would not be complete without that Hair Metal staple, the big ballad. ‘If It’s Over’ can easily stand amongst all the other ballads of the 80s era. It’s like the band went back in time, stole the playbook, and recreated what made the formula so successful. All the instruments played and emphasized in all the right places.
A quick note about the production and structure of the album. The reason these songs work so well is the top notch quality of the recordings, with all instruments and vocals mixed perfectly. I also appreciate that the album only contains 10 tracks. It’s always better to have 10 solid tracks then 12 or 13 tracks with a few subpar ones that detract from the overall quality of the release.
It fills me with great hope when bands who proudly proclaim themselves as “Hair Metal” are able to fly the banner high by constructing songs that are as well put together as they were at the height of the 80s hard rock movement. Some may argue that it’s formulaic. Is there anything new that we haven’t heard before? No. However, different is not good if what you produce sounds horrid. Midnite City embraces everything that makes hard rock great and creates 80s style melodies that many bands these days try to emulate, but few actually succeed. Bands like H.e.a.t, Eclipse, and Wig Wam pull it off and now you can add Midnite City to the list. They have made the cut and we are all the better for it. Buy this album!