Malcolm Middleton: Sleight of Heart (FullTimeHobby/Rhythmethod)

 |   |  <1 min read

Malcolm Middleton: Blue Plastic Bags
Malcolm Middleton: Sleight of Heart (FullTimeHobby/Rhythmethod)

This astringent Scottish singer-songwriter and former Arab Strap member appeared at Elsewhere previously with his excellent album A Brighter Beat, the opening track of which was the brittle but bouncy We're All Going To Die.

That song was released as a UK single before Christmas last year and started at odds of 1000-1 against becoming Radio 1's Christmas number one.

But -- shades of Love Actually -- various websites and DJs swung in behind him and by Christmas Eve the odds had narrowed to 9-1. (He lost to some tele-show winner covering Mariah/Whitney's When You Believe).

It's a good story -- and Middleton has a lot of them, mostly pretty grim. He is a great lyricist, check these for opening lines: "The whole world's going home with blue plastic bags. Six bottles of Stella, Jacob's Creek and twenty fags . . . " "We're having a week off, we're having a rest. Listen to the way we cough, it's for the best."

Very much in the folk troubadour tradition -- most everything here is just him and acoustic guitar or with minimal augmentation from piano, double bass, drums, violin -- Middleton's voice and lyrics drag you in, and down.

Most striking here is his remake of Madonna's chipper Stay which he -- as Aztec Camera's Roddy Frame did with Van Halen's Jump -- finds some darkness in the words and hauls them to the front in a melancholy treatment.

You don't come to Middleton for the laughs but he does address some uncomfortable truths.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Kanye West, 808s and Heartbreak (RocAFella)

Kanye West, 808s and Heartbreak (RocAFella)

Because I don't listen to much of the over-produced, schmaltzy, ululating music that passes for r'n'b these days (in my old-fashioned definition I still link r'n'b to the soul of Otis, Sam Cooke... > Read more

Drive-By Truckers: Ugly Buildings, Whores and Politicians; Greatest Hits 1998-2009 (New West)

Drive-By Truckers: Ugly Buildings, Whores and Politicians; Greatest Hits 1998-2009 (New West)

Those who have missed the career of Drive-By Truckers out of Athens, Georgia are advised to just dive in at their Southern Rock Opera of a decade ago (which gets four of the 16 tracks on this... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

MONEY DON'T GET EVERYTHING IT'S TRUE: What it don't get, I can't use

MONEY DON'T GET EVERYTHING IT'S TRUE: What it don't get, I can't use

In a Mumbai bar a guy from Amsterdam tells me (from New Zealand), about an American television programme. Despite the cultural collisions of that, he's got a good story. Apparently the host... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Kane Strang

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Kane Strang

Kane Strang at the time of this writing is touring in the US on the back his alt.pop singles so far, but also in anticipation of his new album Two Hearts and No Brain (due for release on June... > Read more