Start again…sexual abuse, or even the accusations of sexual misconduct, whether found to be guilty or not will not only potentially ruin a person’s career but also ruin several lives. The sad thing is it’s a far more common occurrence in music than virtually anybody would care to accept as happenstance. On one end of the spectrum, you’ve got Ian Watkins and let’s be fair, the less said about him the better…don’t get me wrong I fucking miss LOSTPROPHETS but…no, just no. Then there’s cases surrounding the likes of WILLIAM CONTROL, and despite the shit storm surrounding him, all I can gather is that at worst he’s just a terrible husband and a serial cheater. It doesn’t matter if those girls gave consent mate, you still destroyed your own marriage, just hope you had a decent prenuptial in place!
Then we come to the likes of Austin Kerr…the former SET IT OFF bassist was another name to be subjected to allegations and accusations of sexual misconduct and as a result he was ejected from the band back in 2015. Was he guilty? He admits his behaviour wasn’t 100% acceptable, but denies any abhorrently wrong doing…so that’s up in the air…HOWEVER…what would this mean for Set It Off? Despite the negative press they continued to make music without him...but, the question is what did it do for their reputation? They HAVE gone backwards in the Billboard charts, but is that in correlation to all of the trouble surrounding Kerr, or have they simply just dropped a below-par album? Let’s find out as we check out their newest offering “Midnight”…
The album opens up with “Killer In The Mirror” and you can’t help but wonder if this is a confession or they’ve just been reading the newspaper…a song of apparent reflection, it speaks of solitude and the acceptance of circumstances…music is a cut-throat business and you have to take a look at yourself first and foremost. You have to look yourself in the eye and tell yourself you want this, because there are people trying to put you down; this is an unforgiving business and it’s kill or be killed, as much as we’d like to think otherwise. This industry will eat you up as soon as you put a foot wrong, and this song touches upon not only that dog-eat-dog world but in ways mirrors the situation with Kerr. The fuzzy guitar tones, along with the subtle hip-hop/reggaeton inspired instrumentation provide a solid groove and it’s ultimately a fine opening track.
Sadly, the remaining fourteen tracks…that’s’ right, fourteen…really don’t offer a great deal of diversity throughout the record. “Lonely Dance”, aside from being something you’d expect someone who plays Fortnite to do, may harbour certain Latino / Hispanic qualities with its guitar tone and backing brass segments but it’s pretty generic alternative pop-rock. “Go To Bed Angry” may sound like optimum wanking circumstances but it’s still just another dose of harmless pop…granted the additional vocals from WAYFARERS add an extra dynamic but it’s a only minor improvement, and that generally sums up the album as a whole.
“Dancing With The Devil” may utilise deeper vocal effects but that’s really all they are, effects…musically we’re in the same boat; the vocals may be deeper but the track is still shallow. “For You Forever” does have some catchy throwback 80’s synth-pop vibes and provides an album highlight aesthetically but it’ll take more than neon to light this album up. “Raise No Fool” does an amuse with it’s ironic ending…lyrically stating “Won’t let you leave me hanging” but then cuts the song abruptly short, leaving the listener hanging themselves…I see what you did there you edgy bunch of bastards! The only REAL change comes in the form of “Unopened Windows” which is sadly the most boring of the tracks on offer here…the piano ballad coming so late on it’s on the verge of being anti-climactic.
Overall while I’ve been quite sarcastic here the album isn’t completely AWFUL by any means…the innocent charm of the pop-inspired melodies is hardly offensive and it’s a generally easy listening record. It’s all mixed and produced well and has a ton of commercial viability…what’s annoying is that over fifteen tracks, there’s very little if anything to differentiate at least fourteen of them and they all blend into one quotidian collection of songs. Nothing truly positive stands out here and it’s a shame because they can clearly write a tune or two, it’s just that on this instance they all more or less sound the same, and by the same what I really mean is the same as FALL OUT BOY because fuck me does this album wish it was a FOB album…but that’s a whole new kettle of fish. Midnight? Goodnight…