The Midnight Moan: Comes In Phases

In a time when so many complain about a decline in creativity, there are still some who try to warm up old soup and claim it’s still delicious instead of spoiled.

The Midnight Moan play traditional rock ‘n’ roll with nothing to show, if only a knack for imitation. The greatest thing they have to boast about (which they regularly do) are the production services of Eddy Offord, known for his work with John Lennon and YES, who had been in retirement for almost 20 years prior to working on the album. What he found in this band to be worthy of returning to work, I don’t know. Under his hands, the album comes out as powerful and carefully layered, but his expertise is wasted on a record that is not only unexciting, but almost comically unoriginal.

Track by track, the album comes across as a knock-off of a later Rolling Stones record, complete with blatant Mick Jagger impersonation on vocals. Songs like “Mulberry” and “Room 1009” seem pulled straight out of the Stones’ Bridges To Babylon or Voodoo Lounge, with much of the album following suit. A few tracks lean in different directions, but to similar results. The Strokes-influenced punk piece “Short Stay” is bland and lacks energy, while the hard rock/Howlin’ Wolf mix on “What I Need” does not do justice to either.

For someone who was in the studio when “Imagine” was being recorded, Mr. Offord—whose talents have to be acknowledged even on this record—made a questionable choice when first being mesmerized by this group. It’s almost as if someone took community theater actors and put on them on Broadway with the best stage crew and dressed them up hoping it wouldn’t be obvious that they’re not real actors.

In A Word: Unoriginal