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Music Review: Midnight Movies – Nights EP

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Los Angeles-based psychedelic pop band Midnight Movies (Gene Olivier, vocals; Larry Schemel, guitar; Ryan Wood, bass; and Sandra Vu, drums) finally recorded their French version of Moody Blues’ “Nights In White Satin” due to tremendous popular demand. What used to be only available live at their concerts, is now included on the band’s Nights EP, which is sort of a companion to last year’s sophomore album Lion The Girl.

It’s a slight companion piece because a couple of tracks (“Should Have Known” and “Stormy Eyes”) were written and produced during the Lion The Girl sessions. Having already listened to that album and now those two tracks that didn’t make the album cut, it was a good choice to leave them out.

Both are moody and sound like they’re coming on the bad side of an acid trip. That’s not to say that everything on Lion The Girl was cheerful and joyous, but those two tracks would have disrupted the album’s focus a bit. “Should Have Known” (listen to the track here) is the most up-tempo of the two, but it feels more like a frantic rush down some rapids rather than the usual fleeting drift. And on second thought, “Stormy Eyes” probably wouldn’t have upset Lion’s balance too much, but the band did contemporize its retro style more so than usual.

A couple of Lion The Girl remixes are also included. Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) reworks “Souvenirs” with a slightly more industrial feel while James Iha (Smashing Pumpkins) reworks “Patient Eye” with a thin disco coating and a touch of rebellious attitude. The remixes are a little shorter than the originals, but it’s not surprising given how little each song was tweaked.

A French version of “Nights in White Satin” called “Mes Rêves De Satin” rounds out the EP. Even though this writer can speak some French, it doesn’t sound as powerful when it’s not sung in English, and that’s in spite of Olivier’s sultry vocals.

It’s too bad politicians couldn’t be as sympathetic to public demand as Midnight Movies are when it comes to giving the people what they want. Nights is a pleasant stand alone EP and a welcome extension of the enjoyable Lion The Girl. It’s available only as a digital release from New Line Records.

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