The Midland Affair – ‘Genesis’

A consuming rock sound takes hold across Genesis, the new full-length album from The Midland Affair. Based in Sulphur Springs, Texas, the trio excels with no-frills production, melding Jordan Owens’ impressive drumming with Carter Luera’s steady bass work and Sal Castro’s vibrant guitars. Dynamic vocal performances also feature, from Castro’s raucous lead on “Scream Out” to Luera’s eclectic range on “Kentucky Rain.”

“Kentucky Rain” is an enthralling opener, kickstarted by shimmering atmospherics and glistening guitars. Steady percussion and heavy bass emerge thereafter, as trickling guitars and emotive lyrics build momentum. “Look to the sky, and feel the rain,” Luera sings, achieving an exhilarating sense of catharsis. This gripping opener sets a strong tone for Genesis. “Do You Hear Me Now” follows as a commiseration of loneliness, moving from pulsing guitars and post-punk intrigue into an anthemic swell, where the title-referencing question pierces with fervent contagiousness into brooding over “another night alone again.”

Another standout, “Friends,” achieves dynamic tonal captivation; sleepy guitar jangles and lush vocals move with starry-eyed appeal into a distortion-heavy onslaught. The vocals alternate between marveling at the beauty of friendship and reflecting on changing times: “All of my old friends, they’re always too busy,” while acknowledging new connections through a shared love for “the same music.” Aesthetically, there’s a fond likeness to The Replacements.

While Carter Luera’s commanding vocal work appears on most tracks, Sal Castro also provides invigorating leads. “Scream Out,” as its title suggests, is an ardent thriller with shout-y vocals that align with the heavy guitar-driven allure. “Mothership” features Castro on vocals, moving with a more somber feeling as acoustics and forlorn vocals express a palpable yearning: “I missed your face.” The Midland Affair’s songwriting and climactic production impress throughout Genesis, whether it’s Luera or Castro on lead vocals.

A sweltering vocal intensity is also abundant on “Be Kind, Please Rewind,” which builds from feedback-touched guitar intensity and dreamy vocals into a thunderous blast of distortion. Multiple layers of intense vocal screams echo in “please, please,” pleading for the “place where it was before,” culminating in a soaring guitar emphasis across the final minute. The rhythm-focused nocturnal introspection of “Loop” and the climactic rocker “The Dismissal” close Genesis with further entrancement, cementing The Midland Affair as a band bound for quick ascent.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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