Midnight North: Under the Lights
Midnight North may call California home, but their third studio release, Under the Lights, is a love letter to the open road. Not surprisingly, the album was inspired by, written and perfected on tour, as the band crisscrossed the country, promoting their 2015 album Scarlet Skies. 11 tracks long, Under the Lights cycles through the spectrum of emotions that one feels when they’re living out of a suitcase—from homesickness (“Back to California”) to reckless abandon (“One Night Stand”) to starry-eyed optimism (“Everyday”). The album moves quickly, reviving the image of the cowboy musician, a dusty stranger who blows through town only to disappear the next day. It’s most apparent on “Roamin,’” which acts as the album’s rock-and-roll heartbeat. Bolstered by Connor O’Sullivan’s driving bassline, guitarists/lead songwriters Grahame Lesh and Elliott Peck, along with organist Alex Jordan, sing with abandon: “I go roamin’ roamin’ northbound on the interstate, my mind is on the open road/ Too far away to turn back, but not close enough to care.” It draws up images of American landscapes and hot stage lights, as soulful, harmonized vocals wrap around twangy guitars and crisp drums. Midnight North may have a steady gig as the house band at Terrapin Crossroads, but on Under the Lights, they ride together, charging down the highway, ready to sing their songs to whomever will listen. This album feels like a page torn out of a tour diary, and Midnight North are in it for the long haul.