Midnight Reruns Let the Bad Times Roll on "Spectator Sports"

Mar. 24, 2017
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Milwaukee power-pop virtuosos Midnight Reruns have spent three albums charting the ways teenage angst crystallizes into quarter-life resignation, with songs less about turning lemons into lemonade than about learning to settle for ice water. That same hard-luck, forehead-slap spirit carries through their latest record, Spectator Sports, out today on Forged Artifacts, and streaming on all the expected platforms (Dusty Medical will release the vinyl next month).

Like its predecessors, it plays like a looped GIF of Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown set to guitars, but there’s a breeziness here that sets it apart. Hooks have always come easy to frontman Graham Hunt, but here they seem to be coming quicker than ever; he’s got an incredible gift for mining uplift out of even the most sour sentiments (“Kill yourself, just don’t do it here,” he sings on “City Hall,” ahead of one of the record’s sweetest licks).

If Midnight Reruns were 20% less tuneful and about 35% louder they could fit right in with emo revivalists like Joyce Manor and Sorority Noise, yet they make that small distance feel like a chasm—it’s hard to make yourself care that much, the record argues again and again. As Hunt puts it on the album thesis “Dissociation Generation,” “There’s really no difference between failure and success,” so when he finds something worth screaming about on “Birthmarks-Fingerprints” it feels like a genuine breakthrough.

It’s a great record. You can stream it below via Bandcamp, where all proceeds from sales will be donated to the ACLU (a sign that group is far less politically apathetic than the record would have you believe).

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