Midland crashed onto the Country music scene in 2017 with their debut album On the Rocks. Since then they’ve spent a lot of time on the road and they’ve made touring in the UK a priority. They played here for the first time at C2C: Country to Country 2018, which they followed up with a headline show at the intimate London venue Omeara. In December they performed their first sold-out headline tour and they’re coming back again this December for another run. This time though they’ll have plenty of new music to play as their second album Let It Roll has just been released.
The jingly-jangly George Strait throwback Mr. Lonely was the first single to be lifted from Let It Roll and it perfectly encapsulates why Midland are so popular. They hark back to real Country music and they have a damn good time while doing it. Their songs are infectious and the trio ooze’s charisma. Mr. Lonely also perfectly sets up fan expectations as Let It Roll is very much a progression rather than an evolution, although there are hints are new directions throughout the record.
One such moment is the opener, and title track, Let It Roll penned by band member Jess Carson. It’s looser than what we’ve heard from Midland before but it still puts their harmonies front and centre while giving you a memorable melody that’ll stick in your head. Another moment is the rockier 21st Century Honky Tonk American Band, a song the band played during their tour last December. It keeps the Midland sensibility but it pushes them in new directions and it’s one of the highlights on the record.
As with On the Rocks, Let It Roll showcases Midland’s versatility and strengths. The sumptuous Cheatin’ Songs purposely references a trope of the Country music genre and it sounds wonderful. Put the Hurt On Me, one of the songs released ahead of the record, is proof that Midland are as adept at stirring ballads as they are uptempo jams. Mark Wystrach’s vocal is so good on the track, showing a little more soul than we’ve heard in the past.
Elsewhere on the record the breezy I Love You, Goodbye is destined to become a live favourite, Cheatin’ By the Rules sounds like a lost gem from the golden age of Country music, and Playboys pretty much sums up the band’s work hard, play hard ethos that’s got them to where they are today. Cameron Duddy takes the lead vocals on the dreamy Lost in the Night while Jess Carson gets a chance to shine on album closer Roll Away, with his smooth voice taking hold of the melody.
One of my favourite songs on the album is Every Song’s a Drinkin’ Song. It’s like a sequel to the band’s breakthrough hit Drinkin’ Problem and it’s everything I love about Midland. The vocals are on fire, the instrumentation is perfect, the harmonies are fantastic and the personality drips from every single lyric.
Let It Roll may not be a million miles stylistically from On the Rocks but it’s so damn good you don’t really care. I was a little disappointed by the tracks released ahead of the album initially but when you listen to them in the context of the record, they work brilliantly. Midland have the biggest personality out of anyone in the Country genre right now and for my money, they’re making the best music too. Roll on December so I can hear these tracks live because they’re going to sound incredible.
Track listing: 1. Let It Roll 2. Fourteen Gears 3. Mr. Lonely 4. Cheatin’ Songs 5. Put the Hurt On Me 6. I Love You, Goodbye 7. Every Song’s a Drinkin’ Song 8. 21st Century Honky Tonk American Band 9. Fast Hearts and Slow Towns 10. Cheatin’ By the Rules 11. Playboys 12. Lost in the Night 13. Gettin’ the Feel 14. Roll Away Released by: Big Machine Release date: 23rd August 2019 Buy Let It Roll https://amzn.to/2Zsq6mU