The Middle Room – Never Satisfied (EP Review)

The Middle Room – Never Satisfied EP
Released: 6 November 2020

Lineup:

Johnny Dombeck | vocals/guitar
Mikey Dripps | lead guitar/vocals
Joshua Hoffman | bass/vocals
Tyler Workman | drums

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Launching a brand new band in the unpredictable musical landscape of COVID-stricken 2020 cannot be an easy feat, but US pop punk newcomers The Middle Room are up for the challenge. Hailing from Pittsburgh USA, this upcoming four-piece channel early 2000s energy, combine it with the catchiest melodies of the last five years, in an attempt to rejuvenate an iconic genre. The band have garnered the interest of renowned producer Seb Barlow (this guy has worked on some of the best upcoming songs in the genre via Neck Deep, WSTR and Roam), so if they’ve got his backing, then that must be worth a listen. Let’s dive straight into this shimmering debut from The Middle Room, shall we?

Never Satisfied kicks off with an epic leading track, ‘Hold That Thought’ and straight off the bat, it’s like we’ve been thrown into a time machine back to 2004. Those hella chuggy riffs and “whoa-ohhh’s” over the chorus are provide ounces of fun, and fuck me, The Middle Room have smashed it first go. ‘What A Catch’ ups the ante with a loud, explosive intro riff and as soon as vocalist Johnny Dombeck fires up, you’ll be taken aback by how much he sounds like State Champs vocalist Derek DiScanio. The resemblance here is uncanny – at times I feel like I’m listening to a track that was left off from The Finer Things. Teaming explosive guitars with infectious pop melodies, The Middle Room are on fire, and we’re only two songs in.

The punky jams continue with ‘Why Worry’, a cathartic release about not letting your inner anxieties get to you as life’s challenges dare to push you. This track is put together so well, with its high-energy vibe driving the song alongside a subtle pop melody making it ever so catchy. Simple Plan would be stoked. ‘Firewall’ continues a similar energy, albeit being a little more angsty than what we’ve heard. Featuring a vocal key change from Dombeck here, and it’s just a testament to his vocal range. There are parts of this song where his range almost reaches as high as another one of the band’s obvious influences, Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump.

‘Every Now and Then’ sees The Middle Room hone in on catchier pop melodies and have grabbed another upcoming musician off the ranks to add extra spark. Maggie Schneider, who fronts upcoming US band glimmers completes the narrative of the song about a relationship that’s doomed to end. Maggie’s got a decent set of vocal chords on her, emanating a style similar to that of Mikaila Delgado (Yours Truly) and Jenna McDougall (Tonight Alive). Definitely watch this young frontrunner rise the ranks over the next few months, that’s for sure. The song’s an emotional belter, made more enjoyable by the optimistic vibes of the melody.

The Middle Room finally slow it down for ’20/20′ and oh my god, this is an absolute standout track on the EP. Beginning ever so calmly with its acoustic guitar undertones before soaring into a melodic rock chorus, Johnny’s vocals are the best we’ve heard so far. Again, theres that uncanny resemblance to Derek from State Champs, but I don’t know… I can definitely hear him coming into his own on this song. Whiney pop punk vocals is kinda what makes the genre so damn enjoyable to listen to, and Johnny’s is absolutely up there with Patrick Stump, Alex Gaskarth and Derek DiScanio.

The EP’s finale ends on the highest note. Beginning with a melodic guitar intro, ‘(It’s Dangerous To Go) Alone’ ties up the best of the band together in a neat little bow. Vocal pop melodies with thumping punk beats to keep you nodding your head right to the last riff.

Pop punk’s on the edge of another oncoming revolution, thanks to someone by the name of Machine Gun Kelly topping the mainstream charts this year. For a band that’s barely been around a year, The Middle Room have come out swinging, absolutely nailing their sound. Never Satisfied will impress longtime pop punk fans with its sheer nod to the golden years, as well as light up listeners’ ears of the new wave genre. I absolutely recommend giving this fire debut release the time of day, because it straight up rules. I look forward to watching The Middle Room grow exponentially online (‘coz that’s the only way they can at the moment) and when touring restarts in the US in three years (too optimistic?), they’ll be first in line in opening for their idols.

The Middle Room – Never Satisfied EP tracklisting:

1. Hold That Thought
2. What A Catch
3. Why Worry
4. Firewall
5. Every Now and Then (featuring Maggie Schneider of glimmers)
6. 20/20
7. (It’s Dangerous to Go) Alone

Rating: 9/10
Never Satisfied is out now. Listen here
Review By Tamara May (@citylightstam)

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