Midwest Blue – Remembering to Forget

Midwest Blue
Remembering to Forget

Midwest Blue is a four-piece band hailing from Illinois that is clearly rooted in the pop-punk style of the recent past. The songs are peppered with tight and catchy instrumentation that is played with a lot of feeling and emotion. The vocals of Sam Swanson are very strong and he covers a lot of range with his vocals that change frequently. The musicians are all very adept at the style and they craft the songs to their full advantage.
The CD kicks off the right way in a very tight rock fashion in “My Own Constant Reminder (Hey You),” which has very strong and melodic vocals. The guitar playing is sharp and helps express the sorrow and hurt in the music and vocals. “Ignorance” picks up some steam with tension-filled breaks in the music that is accompanied by some stabbing guitar work. There are a lot of strong feelings in this song that propel the action, though it may be a hindrance as the lyrics are a little too earnest, which makes it somewhat difficult to get through.
A lot of this disc is what you would expect from any pop/punk band, as the formula is pretty hard to change and has been done to death recently. The musicians play with a lot of intensity and feeling, as well as the vocal performance is strongly emotive, still it’s lacking something. Most of these songs tread very predictable ground covered by many bands that have come before. The lyrics are here are also pretty clichéd, take for example, “Left behind in the cold / No place I can go / Lay down and die / No will to survive / Stuck in between of you here with me” from “Lost Rarities.”
This is definitely by-the-book stuff, and a lot of it will sound familiar to anyone with even the slightest knowledge of the style. Though the songs sound like they came straight from a textbook they still have a certain unmistakable spark, which makes it enjoyable. It’s all done in a workmanlike effort, and it seems like a lot of work went into the performances. I found this record enjoyable to listen to, even if it is rather flawed in its overwhelming familiarity and rather clichéd lyrics. This style had been done much better elsewhere, but still I found a little something to be intrigued by and I’m not adverse to continuing to listen.