Midnight Davis – Severance (EP) (Five Easy Pieces)


Midnight Davis makes very peculiar music.  Just when you think you have a grasp of it, it seems to take another turn.

‘Severance’ is the new 5-track EP from the mysterious and little known Midnight Davis and follows the release of the ‘Afterershock’ 5-song EP from January 2012.

‘Severance’ is a downtempo mixed bag of sounds and influences yet somehow creates a consistent body of work. For lack of a better word, ‘Severance’ is an electronica EP; its soundscape made up of goth-tinged stylings, odd guitar leads, strange wobbles, effects, and swells and when is combined with an obscured, doubled vocal that peeps in and out of the tracks Midnight Davis exhibits a post-punk / experimental quality. Then there’s the production, which is thick and murky and only seems to blur things more.

Early last month we reviewed the EP’s opening track, “In The Mood For Love” (read our review), which is a dark and ominous track with ambient and atmospheric textures propelled forward by industrial-tinged beats. Musically, its soundtrack qualities recall hints of the murky worlds of ‘Airdrawndagger‘ era Sasha before a melodic delta-blues tinged guitar line enters around 2:30 from seemingly nowhere.

“Midnight Manifesto” is a solid number that shows glimpses of Nine Inch Nails and continues with the quirky layers of sound and textures. The production on “S&M” adds a 80’s quality to the EP courtesy of the 808-style drum machine beats and chorus-driven guitar leads, while its obscured vocals add a goth element.

With each passing track, the guitar seems to take on a more present role – none more than the title track. The most up-tempo of the 5 tracks, ‘Severance’ sums up everything about the EP. Avoiding predictability at every turn, its beats are odd and textured, the guitar leads seem out of place yet gel, synths come in and out, and then there’s the vocal melody, which seems plucked from out of nowhere.

Though it’s nothing like The Knife’s ‘Shaking The Habitual’ from earlier this year (read our review) it somehow causes a similar scratching of the head. ‘Severance’ is an odd EP; it’s complex but flowing and while it’s not what you’d call catchy after the EP has finished, the slightest recollection of a guitar or vocal melody will linger on as you try to make sense of it all. It’s at times unsettling, even hypnotic, but one thing you can’t deny is that it’s intriguing.

‘Severance’ will be released on 16 September, 2013.

Watch the video for “In The Mood For Love” below:

Listen to “Midnight Manifesto” below: