Set It Off – Midnight (Album Review)

Set It Off – Midnight
Released: 1st February 2019

Line up:

Cody Carson // vocals
Dan Clermont // guitar
Zach De Wall // guitar
Maxx Danzinger // drums

There are two types of bands, those who continuously evolve and change their sound and bands who stick to the type of music that made them popular in the first place. Set It Off are very much the former. Starting as a pop-punk/ rock band with EP Horrible Kids and debut LP Cinematics, Set It Off have experimented with their sounds in subsequent releases incorporating gospel, hip hop and electronica, while maintaining their angsty roots. Midnight is the culmination of this progress, which frontman Cody Carson has said in our interview with him that it “feel(s) like an absolutely new era”.

Midnight opens with the first single ‘Killer In The Mirror’, a song that very much mirrors the turmoil and challenges the band, especially Cody Carson, went through in the past year. It’s slight electronic opening leads to a catchy chorus with its dark, ominous lyrics and insistent drum beat. ‘No Disrespect’ changes the pace with a 60’s style dance vibe, creating a nice contrast to the previous song. Again, a catchy chorus is incorporated, this time inspiring toe tapping and hip swivelling, rather than jumping and moshing. ‘Stitch Me Up’ is very much in the vein of contemporary pop music, with soft drumming and guitar work, with the focus very much on Carson’s vocals. ‘Raise No Fool’ follows, its sound complementing ‘Stitch Me Up’, with a funky twist in the bridge before the last chorus. ‘I Want You (Gone)’ featuring a saxophone solo by Reel Big Fish’s Matt Appleton, is a bit of a throwback to the radio-friendly pop of the 1980’s.

The ballad of the album ‘Unopened Windows’ is a stripped back song that starts with the piano and Carson’s vocals, before introducing the guitar and drums. It is a beautiful, simplistic, emotive song that is a stand out of the album. ‘Happy All The Time’ with Skyler Acord from Issues on bass, is an upbeat optimistic song with backing from a gospel choir and some horn work thrown into the mix. ‘Hourglass’ starts sounding very much like Set It Off, of the old, before seguing into a mid-tempo pop chorus, then returning to its heavier, darker verses. Second single ‘Lonely Dance’ follows, another lyrically dark song, about depression and mental health issues. Although the beat of ‘Different Songs’ is upbeat and dance-worthy, the tune is juxtaposed with the lyrics about a potential break up or ending of a relationship, once again, including a seriously catchy chorus.

Another mid-tempo pop song with ‘For You Forever’ follows. With a ‘rap’ opening, ‘Dancing With The Devil’ piques the interest of the listener, as it transitions into Carson’s vocals, starting off softly before an edge comes into his voice and the music follows suits. Wayfarers duet on ‘Go To Bed Angry’. ‘Midnight Thoughts’ groovy opening riff leads to an emotional song that uses a violin and vocal layering to create a slightly otherworldly feel, while the final song ‘Criminal Minds’ incorporates a string section to add another dimension to the album.

For fans of Set It Off who are wanting the angst and power of songs such as ‘Horrible Kids’, ‘Nightmare’, ‘N.M.E’ and the like, you will probably be disappointed. Set It Off have changed their sound and Midnight is the ultimate signifier of that. As a pop album Midnight is a solid effort, with some amazing vocals and ridiculously catchy choruses.

set it off - midnight album

Set It Off – Midnight tracklisting:

1. Killer In The Mirror
2. No Disrespect
3. Stitch Me Up
4. Raise No Fool
5. I Want You (Done) feat. Matt Appleton
6. Unopened Windows
7. Happy All The Time feat. Skyler Acord
8. Hourglass
9. Lonely Dance
10. Different Songs
11. For You Forever
12. Dancing With The Devil
13. Go To Bed Angry feat. Wayfarers
14. Midnight Thoughts
15. Criminal Minds

Rating: 7/10
Midnight 
is out Friday via Fearless Records. Pre-Order a copy here
Review by Carys Hurcom CarysWos

Revisit our interview with Set It Off frontman Cody Carson right here

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