Graham Reid | | <1 min read
This somewhat eccentric Scottish singer-songwriter Middleton is not "an acquired taste" (which has a pejorative meaning) rather a taste that few in this country have acquired: despite being in Arab Strap and widely hailed by UK critics for his solo albums (this is his fifth) he has barely made a ripple outside of Britain -- although could have changed if his hilariously bleak but urgent We're All Going To Die single had been the UK Christmas #1 a couple of years back.
But the flipside of that is if it had been then he would have been a novelty act, and he's far from that.
His music can be spare and morose sounding, but he can also craft a lovely pop song or beef things up with strident acoustic playing, and here he indulges in real singalongs, drops in some electronic percussion on the memorable Zero with its breakdown segment and Scottish rap, and in places you could be forgiven for thinking his recent listening has included Springsteen's big chested ballads.
Middleton has never been easy to put in a box and on Waxing Gibbous -- with other Strap members, the like-minded King Creosote and pianist Barry Burns from Mogwai -- he confounds, confuses and delights in equal measure.
He's a man on the margins of acknowledgement -- but maybe his folked-up version of Ladyhawke's My Delirium tacked on as a bonus track could finally get him the New Zealand audience he deserves.