Single Review: Sometime Around Midnight – The Airborne Toxic Event
By Guy Sangster Adams
Shooting straight out of the sleeve and grabbing one simultaneously by the neck and the heart with such a passionate intensity there is no time for fear nor love, but only to release one’s soul to the last gasp climatic thrill, by rights the single Sometime Around Midnight should already have been as big a hit in this country as it was in the US. Originally released in the UK in February, this re-release remixed by Cenzo Townsend (whose extensive discography of collaborations includes Bat For Lashes, Babyshambles, Kaiser Chiefs, Primal Scream, and U2) magisterially reinforces a great song that showcases these Californian indie rockers’ diverse influences and talents.
Named after the second section of Don DeLillo’s novel White Noise, TATE founder Mikel Jollett (vocals, guitar, keyboard) also writes fiction, recently contributing a short story to McSweeneys, and in the autobiographical Sometime Around Midnight he brings his literary articulacy to lyrics that recount a chance meeting with an ex-girlfriend who although she has moved on he realises just how much he is still in love with her. Jollett creates an everyman tale, capturing how men feel gripped with a welter of passion and aggression, abject hurt but still with the need for reassurance from the lover who has spurned them, and how often they are happiest to express those feelings against the background of a fist in the air Springteen-esque “last chance power drive.”
Jollett’s voice which is capable of being at once brooding and seductive, vulnerable and menacing, in the manner of Brandon Flowers, and TATE’s musical cohesion of the classically trained Anna Bulbrook (viola, keyboards, tambourine, backing vocals) and the jazz schooled bassist Noah Harmon with the more traditional rocking combination of Steven Chen’s lead guitar and Daren Taylor’s drums, propel a lyrical journey that might be headed for melancholy or introspection, into a sound that makes one want to love again, and again, like one’s never been hurt. Sometime Around Midnight is almost a call and response to The Killers’ When You Were Young and should indeed be similarly lauded.