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Middle States reviewed

| February 4, 2009

Middle States
Happy Fun Party


If I’m in Middle States, I’m not happy with The Hold Steady. It’s not enough that they actually expounded upon the purposefully retrograde Guided By Voices thing, but they’re also from the upper Midwest.

The solution (presuming they did care) is to say “fuck ’em.” Happy Fun Party thrusts confounding song titles to the fore (“Warlocks Of Ari,” “Winds Of Eiderdown”), but rocks the way Pete Townshend, via GBV, would want them to. If vocalist Wes Morden says a little more in Bob Pollard’s voice than you’d like him to, who cares? Without 10 filler tracks, we’re left with the leanest basement-’70s-rock-star collection ever, one that doesn’t consciously treat the 4-track like a 2-track or insist every idea makes it to tape. The big split comes in “Friday Night,” when Morden goes on about real life and, despite his inelegance, manages to convey more anxiety in three minutes than his hero has in 25 years. It might be best to go hang around in the upper Midwest.


Steve Forstneger


Category: Spins, Weekly

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  1. Kim Oliver says:

    This CD is awesome, the songs are contagious. Once I’ve heard the CD I’m yearning for more . . . .
    Remember Wes Morden is from the Chicago area so his influences are varied. Let’s support this musician with
    Illionois roots!