EP REVIEW: Midland – “The Last Resort”

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Midland

The Gator Boys are back with their new 5-track EP The Last Resort, a collection of songs created in lockdown during the pandemic, and hot on the heels of their Sonic Ranch project earlier this year. And it’s been time well spent if this enterprise is anything to go by. Midland are a band that pride themselves on being road dogs, playing show after show, night after night, but being unable to do that over the last year-and-a-bit, they’ve put this time to good use, and what we hear here is the first of the fruits of their labour.

And Then Some kicks us off with a mournful lament to an old flame. It’s unmistakably Midland, but somehow with more of a ‘grown up’ feel. A mid-tempo song full of steel guitar, lead singer Mark Wystrach’s familiar vocals, Jess Carson and Cameron Duddy’s harmonies and a tonne of regret. 

And then somebody says your name
And I’m right back where you left me
….
Then my heart starts to think that I don’t miss you
But I still miss you
And then some

It’s a beautiful song, and one anyone who has let someone slip away will associate with.

Sunrise Tells The Story is of a similar tempo to And Then Some but rather than a song of regret, this is more of a “what just happened?” tale, and one that’s left open-ended as to what might happen in the future as Mark sings “Is it a book or a chapter, a few words on a page? Don’t know where it’s going, I just want you to stay.” It’s classic Midland and the perfect song choice to launch the project, being released a couple of weeks before the EP. 

Two To Two Step is the most up-tempo track on the collection, a real dance-hall stomper in the mould of Brooks & Dunn, and one that I’m sure will become a line dance staple around Texas and further afield for years to come. 

Take Her Off Your Hands brings us back down in tempo and sees Mark witnessing a love-struck girl being ignored by her fella in a bar and wishing he could swap places with him and give her the attention she deserves. There’s a real George Strait vibe to this song, and I can’t give it a higher compliment than that. 

The EP finishes with Adios Cowboy, a ‘Dear John’ from his significant other. Another mid-tempo song full of the harmonies and melodies we come to expect from Midland, it’s a lovely way to round off the collection, and it only leaves us wanting more. With a reported 30 songs written in the last year, it sounds like we’re in for a treat if they’re in the same vein as the five on this EP. 

The Last Resort is a fitting addition to Midland’s catalogue, and sees them moving slightly into more of a hazy 70’s Eagle-esque sound than the twangy rhinestone encrusted honky-tonk Midland of On The Rocks and Let It Roll. I can’t wait to catch them on tour in the Autumn, and to see what else they’ve got in store for us moving forwards.

Ben Pinsent

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