We can all thank Craigslist and the wonder of the internet for the birth of Los Angeles-based, cinematic alt-rock quartet Midnight Divide. According to the band's bio, this is how they met and starting making music together just a few years ago. The band consists of Austen Moret (vocals/guitar), Jace McPartland (bass), Sab Cahrunas (drums), and Dan Beltran (lead guitar). Their debut EP, Embrace The Wave, was released in 2015, charting on the CMJ 200, with the band placing second at the Hollywood Battle of the Bands. Midnight Divide recently finished their first national tour, and today release their stunning, new Dichotomy EP, which was written, recorded, and produced by Austen.
Two tracks from the EP ("Animal Eyes" and "Fireline") were released as singles preceding the EP. Dichotomy presents an evolution in the band's sound, as they venture into new sonic territory - presenting a well-balanced mix of electronics, synths, and hip/hop production, while remaining true to their core sound which is rooted in drums and guitars.
The lead track, "Animal Eyes," is an outstanding opener, setting the tone for the first half of the EP. It is fresh and edgy, and exudes bold, raw energy and confidence. Austen's vocals are smooth and strong, along with a powerful delivery range. I love the drawn-out vocals and gradually-increased pitch on the "animal eee-yyy-es..." chorus. This is a catchy, kick-ass song with great production. Be sure to turn this one up to feel the vibrating synths and pure energy of the track. If you listen closely, especially around the bridge, you'll even hear a bit of authentic bagpipes.
If you thought "Animal Eyes" sounded badass, "Ketamine" kicks it up a notch. High-powered, quick-paced - this is solid, jump-up-and-shout, alt-rock with an infectious chorus ("I need another taste of your ketamine | a quick shot to the wave of a heart line."). It might be subtle, but I love the alternating channel effect of the electric guitars around the bridge. This especially sounds great on headphones.
The band's most recent single, "Fireline," is up next. "Fireline" is clean and crisp, with its music box-like intro alongside beautiful, melodic guitars. Austen comments on the track: "'Fireline' is about accepting that the past won't stand to be ignored, so it's better to accept it for what it is and that it's a part of you. Maybe by accepting it, you can finally move on." This is definitely one of the standout tracks on the EP for a number of reasons - it's well-written, catchy and melodic with a nicely-balanced atmosphere, poising this song for great hit potential.
"Talking," the final track on Dichotomy, was originally released as a single in late 2016, and musically follows an atmosphere and vibe similar to "Fireline." This is a great track to close out this outstanding EP. The song's release was accompanied by an impressive music video directed by Wes Langdon, that features the band members, along with some nice drone footage.
SoundThread caught up with Austen to ask about the theme around the Dichotomy EP. Austen comments, "We were trying to capture the duality of human emotion. We’re complex creatures and we all deal with pain or adversity in different ways. We really wanted that vibe to come through, and so the EP was written with each song having its opposite as a pair. 'Animal Eyes' and 'Fireline' are meant to be together, the angry and the sad. 'Ketamine' and 'Talking' pair off with ignorant desire and the more self-aware realization that it’s time to let go ('Talking')."
I highly recommend giving Dichotomy a listen (Spotify, SoundCloud), and be sure to keep your eyes and ears tuned to this emerging band for more great, new music. If you're located on the West Coast, check local entertainment listings, as the band plays regularly in Los Angeles and surrounding areas. For more information about Midnight Divide, visit their website and social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube).