Back and Thriving Again


When it comes to music, the only thing more agonizing than waiting for a new album from a favorite band is finding out that there will be no more new albums.

That’s been the sad truth for nearly two years when it comes to one of my favorite bands, melodic-rock group Thriving Ivory.  That is, until about a month ago, when I learned that they would be returning with a new EP, sans keyboardist and lead songwriter Scott Jason.  Though that news is a bit disappointing, and I had minor concerns about how that might affect their future work, I can safely say that their new EP does not let down.

Returning as Midnight Cinema, the band has dropped their piano focus but maintained a melodic sound that sets them apart, and lead singer Clayton Stroope’s voice is unique and suits their new music just as well as their old.

But enough with old versus new; let’s get to the EP itself.

The five-song EP kicks off with “Crazy Beautiful,” a catchy, rocking piece about the complexity and beauty of life and taking time to appreciate it.  From there, it leads into the lead single, “Hurricane,” a melodic love song, where a person is a metaphorical hurricane sweeping you off of your feet.

The EP really shines in the next two tracks.  In “Heavy,” soft piano and strings mixed in behind softly-strummed acoustic guitars and soft electronic sounds meet with Stroope’s standout vocals to create an emotional but catchy piece of music.  Particularly of note is Stroope’s poignant use of falsetto in the chorus, promising to follow a lover whatever may happen.

“Holding My Breath” is probably the slowest track on the album, a mournful recollection of an ended relationship that questions, “Is it harder to leave or to be left behind?”  My personal favorite from the EP, it starts with a slow piano riff and builds up with a pounding drum beat into soaring guitar accompanied by strings.  Stroope’s vocals prove to create particular emotion here, with equally emotional lyrics.

The EP closes off with more energy in “Burn Me Now,” a song about getting fed up with someone who won’t make a move and commit in a relationship, with a strong, foot-stomping beat, and strummed acoustic guitar throughout.

Midnight Cinema EP, by nature of it being an EP, leaves you wanting more.  With only five songs, it’s hard to give as much content as one might hope for, and it has a hard time feeling truly complete and together.  But it shows promise for the future; it shows that after two years, the former members of Thriving Ivory are still kicking and making great music, and I’d really love to see what Midnight Cinema can do with another full-length album.  For now, Midnight Cinema EP is a great way to quench your thirst.

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